- It is illegal to paint shells of gopher tortoises in Florida
- The gopher tortoise is considered a threatened species under state law
That's the message from Florida officials, who rescued a painted white ibis bird this week, days after they found gopher tortoises illegally covered in hues of blue and red.
Florida officials say there's nothing cute or funny about the work of these rogue artists.
"Please keep your paint on the canvas and off of wildlife," the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted on Facebook. "Tortoises and turtles don't need touch-ups!"
While it may sound harmless, unleashing your inner artist on wildlife could land you in jail.
"White ibis are protected in Florida. Not only is it illegal to paint them, but it is cruel to paint any wildlife," the commission said.
The gopher tortoise is considered a threatened species protected by state law
, and painting its shell can have a major effect on its health.
"The paint can hinder their ability to absorb vitamins they need from the sun, cause respiratory problems, allow toxic chemicals into the bloodstream and more," Florida officials said.
Humans have been meddling with wildlife a lot lately, and it never ends well.
In May, park officials euthanized a bison calf after tourists
who thought they were rescuing it loaded it into their car at Yellowstone National Park.
Instead, the encounter led to its death.
Just last month, a crowd of onlookers snapping pictures of a mountain goat chased the animal to its death in Alaska.
Stop it, people.