Found: A Spray-Painted Electric Blue Tortoise - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

Found: A Spray-Painted Electric Blue Tortoise

He was scrubbed clean and left with only a “slight blue hue.”

In Florida, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received a call about a very unusual creature—an electric blue tortoise.

This guy wasn’t some superhero mutant, though. He was the victim of an illegal act.

Someone had spray-painted the gopher tortoise this dramatic shade of blue. Gopher tortoises are a threatened species, and it’s illegal to harm them. Spray-painting a tortoise is very dangerous to the tortoise. The paint blocks its ability to absorb vital UV rays from the sun and exposes it to chemicals. (Think about whether you would like to be painted electric blue. You would not. The tortoise is basically in the same situation.)

Luckily for this tortoise, he was found before any serious harm was done. He had to go to a wildlife rehabilitation center for a serious scrubbing, which was probably unpleasant in its own right. But he was returned to the world with what the FWC describes as only “a slight blue hue.”