April 19 (UPI) — Authorities in Florida are offering a reward for information about a gopher tortoise found covered in red spray paint with some concrete on its shell.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted photos to Facebook showing the tortoise found Sunday in the middle of County Road 455, just south of Montverde in the Orlando area.
The photos show the tortoise covered in what appears to be red spray paint and some concrete on its shell.
A team of rescuers including The Central Florida Wildlife Center and Swamp Girl Adventures took the tortoise in and set about methodically cleaning its skin and shell with a toothbrush.
“We don’t want the chemicals to continue to sink in,” Kim Titterington of Swamp Girl Adventures told WKMG-TV. “So, we needed to get as much … possible in the first 24 hours.”
The rescuers dubbed the tortoise Raphael, after the member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that wears red.
The FWC is offering a reward for information on how the tortoise came to be covered in paint.
Rescuers said it is unlikely that the tortoise accidentally fell in paint, as there was no red pigment found in any crevices.
“All of the areas that were easily exposed were all red,” Titterington said.