Wildlife Center Searches for Painters of Box Turtle in Virginia
By Sam Lehman | Jun 14, 2013 09:42 AM EDT
Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, VA, has found a female box turtle painted in multiple shades of nail polish and glitters at Natural Chimneys Park in Augusta County.
The multiple shades of nail polish and glitters on the box turtle's shell make it vulnerable to its predators. Wildlife Center official, Amanda Nicholson found the box turtle in this strange condition. Although the colors on the shell do not pose a threat to its health, officials are taking all measures to remove the shades to bring back its original camouflage. According to Randy Huwa, executive vice president of Wildlife Center of Virginia, the turtle's shell was also painted with initials "SKR and BDM with a faded name Sheldon."
"Box turtles have this great natural camouflage that just allows them to blend into their environment," Nicholson told The Daily News Leader. "And this is really sending a message to the world of, 'hey, look at me.'"
Besides washing the color off the turtle's shell, the major concern is that it is carrying five eggs, Huwa said. The turtle cannot be left into the wild after removing the paints. For the survival of this turtle and her offsprings, it must be returned to the same place where they were conceived.
"Eastern Box Turtles are very territorial and have a very small home range - only a few acres. If this turtle were to have a chance to be released back out into the wild, we would need to know where she was picked up, how long she was held, etc.," Huwa said in a news release.
The turtle found the in Natural Chimneys Park, may have been left by someone but the officials are looking for the painters to know where they picked up the turtle. The officials hope that the painters step forward for the sake of the turtle's well-being.
"We're just looking for information for the sake of the turtle, no questions asked," Nicholson said.