Wildlife Center Rescues a Turtle Covered in Graffiti

Written by Stephen Messenger

The intricate coloring of a turtle’s shell is the result of millions of years of evolution, yet someone apparently thought they could improve upon it. They were wrong.

Earlier this week, the good folks at the Wildlife Center of Virginia rescued an Eastern box turtle discovered at a nearby campground after it fell victim to an unscrupulous ‘artist’. According to staff, the reptile’s shell had been vandalized with several types of nail polish and glitter — threatening its survival by making it an easy target for predators.

“Box turtles have this great natural camouflage that just allows them to blend into their environment,” says staffer Amanda Nicholson. “And this is really sending a message to the world of, ‘hey, look at me.’”

The wildlife center isn’t certain whether the turtle is an abandoned pet, or if someone ran across it in the wild and decided to add this gaudy graffiti, but the tagged shell does offer some clues as to who might be responsible. Along with the word “Sheldon”, taken to be the female turtle’s name, are the initials “SKR” and “BDM” — perhaps belonging to the culprits.

So far, Sheldon has received several rounds of scrubbing to remove the paint, but even if clean, it’s unclear whether she’ll ever be able to return to the wild — unless there’s someone who can come forward to explain the animal’s history (no questions asked):

“We only request information on where the turtle was originally found (the more precise the location, the better), how long it was in captivity, and if it was housed with any other turtles,” says the Wildlife Center. “If we are able to answer those questions, we may be able to release this turtle back into her home territory”

Returning Sheldon back into the wild won’t just be better for her, but for all her kind as well. This species of box turtle, native to the eastern United States, is currently listed as ‘threatened’. Every year, thousands of these reptiles are plucked from the wild to be sold into captivity — though made clear by this case, the disruptive inclination of some humans doesn’t end there.

This post was originally published at TreeHugger

Photo from Thinkstock

175 comments

David V.
David V.3 years ago

terrible....no respect for living things. this is why this planet is going to hell.

Carrie-Anne Brown

very sad :( but thanks for sharing

Sheri D.
Sheri D.3 years ago

Poor Sheldon. He must have been traumatized by whoever painted him and then has to be held down to have the paint removed. If whoever did this wanted to be an artist, he/she should have made a clay bowl and painted it this way. Box turtles are awesome and should be left in their natural habitat.

Waheeda S.
Waheeda S.3 years ago

I hope they can get all the paint off the poor turtle!
And shame on the idiots who put the stuff on her.

Nickihermes Celine
Past Member 3 years ago

again those so called*humans*,thank you for sharing 4/7

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

Tori Lamp
Tori Lamp3 years ago

In my hometown at Petco and other pet stores they paint the shell's of hermit crabs.I guess they do this to get people to want to buy them. I think it is still cruel.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

Gotsie, arme schildpad!

Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.3 years ago

It's sad that many children and teens have not been taught to respect nature and to not harm any of its creatures - except mosquitoes. Some of these same children and teens grew up without this respect, never learning it anywhere else.

It would be nice if in Biology classes the teachers would show this to the class and have a discussion on why it shouldn't have been done. That would be a nice start to educating those haven't been taught to respect nature.

Adilene W.
Addy W.3 years ago

poor turtle. :(