Vandalized Turtle a Target for Predators

Thursday, Jun 13, 2013  |  Updated 2:12 PM EDT
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Box turtles' natural camouflage helps them blend into their environment.

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Glitter and nail polish aren't glamorous for a Eastern box turtle found in Augusta County, Va.

Someone painted the turtle's shell with multiple shades of polish and glitter. The name “Sheldon” was written on the shell with silver glitter, along with the initials “SKR” and “BMD,” said Randy Huwa, executive vice president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Amanda Nicholson with the wildlife center said the paint job makes the turtle a target for predators.

“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.’”

But that's not the only problem.

Huwa said the turtle is carrying five eggs. To live in the wild, she and her offspring should be returned to 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.,” he said in a news release.

“Perhaps SKR and/or BMD will step forward to help out this poor turtle?” he said.

The center's staff is working to remove the polish, but the process could take several days or weeks, Huwa said.

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