Few days ago, one of my instagram’s friends who also has several turtles, posted a photo of a turtle being painted, it wasn’t her turtle…it belonged to another account. She was only sharing it to say that painting turtles is not okay!

As a turtle blogger, I realize that I haven’t yet written about this issue….and today is the time for me to share about it.

I once discovered a picture of a turtle being painted in one facebook group that shares about the love for turtle. This man was so proud of sharing his painted turtle…I was shock, how could someone who claimed to love his turtle was proud of doing such cruel thing? I told him that painting the shell is not the right thing to do.

Unfortunately…he was not the only one who didn’t know about that. My blog is easily found whenever anyone use google with the keyword “training a turtle“…so, I hope this post can also be easily found when people google about caring a turtle.

     No Paint Turtle

Some people might think that the paint and those glitters made their turtle look cuter but they don’t know what that paint will do to the turtles! …and to be honest, their original shells look a LOT better than the fake color and glitter.

Someone reminded me that I need to provide the scientific studies and turtle expert documentation on how paint on turtles shells are detrimental to the health of turtles.

What I wrote here are just common sense, you can either follow it or not…just use your logic and your love for animal because NO ANIMAL in this world deserves to be painted.

Everything written here are my opinion along with similar opinion by: chinatownturtle, Wichita Falls Reptiles Rescue, North Jersey.com,   Aleks Haecky,

Turtle shell, in the wild, is used as protection, that’s why most of them have dark color as a camouflage to the predator, by painting it the turtle becomes so radiant and an easy target for the predator.

Paint is made of chemical and the shell can easily absorb it.

Most importantly, the paint will block UV from the sun…turtles need UV to grow their shell and their bones. I met someone who had a sick turtle, he said that he kept him alive as long as he could by letting him under the sunlight as often as he could. You see, UV makes turtle stronger and healthier.

NEVER PAINT A TURTLE for whatever reason you have!!

If you still want to see a different look on your turtle, make her/him a dress! you can put it on for a while (not all the time because they need to absorb UV). I did it once with my turtle but it was just for a photo, I like their original shell more.

If you are a turtle owner and claim that you love your turtles…then never ever paint them!!

If you don’t have a turtle…please never paint the wild one.

My instagram’s friend I have mentioned above created a new account to let people know that painting a turtle equals Animal Abuse!

Go check her account and see that there are a lot of animal abuse being shared on instagram…her hope is for everyone to stop abusing animals, not just turtles. All the photos I have shared here (except for Kame in dress) belong to her account.

Click on the image

Click on the image

Here are three pictures I chose to share to you!

Parents or adult should teach the right thing to their children!

Never EVER drill a hole in their shell…it hurts them!!

Look how bright the turtle is…his predator can spot him easily!

I know that most of my turtle’s friends are furry animals…but I hope you can help spread the word 🙂

Here’s Some extra information from some kind readers 🙂

From Andrew Schiffbauer

  1. Blood poisoning through paint seepage is still a risk.
  2. As is shell deformation as the turtle grows.
  3. There IS a type of paint that is safe for use on turtles – Markal Markers/Paint Sticks, which are used by Marine Biologists to mark turtles in the wild.
  4. In any case, if you DO paint your turtle, even with this safe non toxic form of paint, keep the design small and don’t leave it on long, because of the aforementioned Deformation issue.


Animal Cruelty


About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog: https://kamekroten.wordpress.com

165 responses »

  1. Alicia says:

    Is it safe to paint there finger nails?

  2. Tony McGurk says:

    People probably think they are just making them look nice without realising the danger. Still don’t understand why they’d want to do it though. Some people just don’t think before they act.

  3. rah,a says:

    can i paint it with water color ? not paint colors ?

  4. The Real Cie says:

    Reblogged this on The Netherworld and commented:
    I hope people will spread the word about this. I suppose if one has a pet turtle and wanted to decorate it for Halloween pictures, one could use an easily removed, food coloring based paint and remove it after the pictures were taken. However, as the author shows, it would be best to make an easily removable “dress” for the turtle to pose in.
    I imagine that most people are unaware that the practice of painting a turtle’s shell is cruel. I honestly wasn’t aware of it until I read this post.
    I’m distressed but not surprised to read about the sharing of animal cruelty on Instagram. After all, how many such pictures appear on Facebook? It tends to be like pulling teeth to get Facebook to take them down. However, show a picture of a woman nursing a baby, or a fellow (or gal) showing a bit of butt crack for a joke? That stuff is gone in a heartbeat!
    You Tube also harbors animal abuse videos in its dark corners. I have inadvertently come across both cock fighting and crush videos. I always report these things, sometimes even to the FBI and Interpol, but I don’t know that anything gets done about them.
    If anyone wonders why I’m such a cynic when it comes to the human race, see the preceding statement.

  5. Jess says:

    Okay so I wanted to ask my boyfriend to prom with a turtle with the word “prom” on the turtles back. But after reading this im not so sure. Is it okay to only put that one word on the turtle then wash it off? Or is there any other way I can get the word prom on the turtles back?

    • Novroz says:

      You can use washable paint. It can be washed easily with water

      • jackie chumbucket says:

        wouldn’t you be scared of killing the turtle? I am sorry but defending the turtle kind is so close to me and means so much

      • Novroz says:

        Some people said washable paint won’t kill them…BUT I would NEVER paint my turtles for whatever reason…they are already beautiful with the shell created by God

  6. Ixel says:

    Fingernails don’t need to breath, it’s the petroleum in the varnish that makes them go yellow. You actually never need to take the varnish off to let them breath. I’m sure you are right in saying you shouldn’t paint the turtle though 😄

  7. Andrew Schiffbauer says:

    Hello, I read your blog and found it very interesting. After doing a little research I discovered a few things:

    1. Turtles do not ‘breath’ through their shells. Their shells are not porous. HOWEVER…
    2. Blood poisoning through paint seepage is still a risk.
    3. As is shell deformation as the turtle grows.
    4. There IS a type of paint that is safe for use on turtles – Markal Markers/Paint Sticks, which are used by Marine Biologists to mark turtles in the wild.
    5. In any case, if you DO paint your turtle, even with this safe non toxic form of paint, keep the design small and don’t leave it on long, because of the aforementioned Deformation issue.

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Adrew,

      Thank you for the additional information 🙂
      I know they don’t breath through their shell…I was merely comparing it to how it feels when we put on nail polish on our fingers but I guess the way I wrote it gave different assumption to so many people reading this post.

  8. Amanda says:

    IT just drives me nuts how someone could think this is ok… I’m on board with everything you say. What also bugs me is when people think that turtles can just get out of their shells.. umm no it’s attached to them lol. I subscribed to your site here too cause your awesome for sharing animal cruelty stuff!

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Amanda 🙂

      first of all thank you for subscribing 🙂
      Yeah there are still many ignorant people thinking it’s okay to paint animal. I hope everyone can see the danger of painting ANY animal

  9. crazyfingers says:

    My kids kept a young painted turtle from last spring and we now need to let it go back to the wild in the small pond where they got it. They would like to put a small mark on the turtle so that they will know if they see it again. Should we use Markal Markers as noted above to make a small X or mark along a portion of the edge of the shell?

  10. Siad Ahmed Naqvi says:

    I painted a alligator snapper and this ole boy is still the same savage he once was he just acts alittle high now. Suck deez nuts peta

    • Novroz says:

      Just because you did it doesn’t make it as the right thing to do

    • Shannon Speakman says:

      Awesome job with this article! I have no tolerance to anyone abusing any animal just to be cruel, there is no need for it,period.Thank you for posting this article I hope it reaches a ton of readers like me 🙂
      Turtle lover to two sliders: Shelly and Sheldon
      4 box turtles: Aubrey, Michael, Don, & Red

  11. Why are there any questions at all about what is safe to paint a turtle with? Just don’t do it, ever.

  12. Wow, I honestly didn’t know. I remember painting a turtle with actual wall paint as a child. 😦 My grandpa helped me do it, and I doubt he knew it was not okay. I have a pet turtle I was considering painting, but not worth it. Thank you for spreading the word!

  13. neidah says:

    Well dear; thanks for your nice post. Actually i love wildlife and all the nature but i have to admit that i was going to do the same thing to the turtle i received the other night as a gift. Thank goodness i surfed the net first and visited your very blog. I appreciate your care n concern for the nature:) 😉 may God embrace you with all his mercy!!!

  14. Susan says:

    I found a turtle hatchling with a red G on its shell and I need to know if and how I should get it off. Please help, I’ve not found any answer from quite a lot of surfing. I’m worried there may be more in the same place this one was found.

  15. Dr. Joanna says:

    Please provide the scientific studies and turtle expert documentation on how paint on turtles shells are detrimental to the health of turtles.

    If you can not provide the documentation, then please stop telling people not to paint turtle shells. Unless you include it’s your personal feelings and your own thoughts.

    Thank you.
    Dr. Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto

    By the way. If you delete this message, it will add to the lawsuit you could end up with.

    • Novroz says:

      Thank you for your reminder and don’t delete any comment unless it’s insulting.

      Most of the info here are common sense, like blocking the UV and easy to spot by predators. I admit I can’t provide any expert documentation and that’s why I never even mentioned according to expert and stuff. Once I come back from holiday I will add in my post that everything here is my thought and other people I know.

      • Catherine says:

        I don’t know what this lady’s deal is. I would hate for her to be my doctor, she’s a very cold person. I have worked in the veterinary field for twelve years and seen many horrible things and I absolutely commend you for posting this!! Thank God for people like you that speak out and try to make others more aware. I mean if we didn’t how else are they going to know?

      • Novroz says:

        Hi Catherine,
        Thank you so much for the support 🙂
        I know chemically, it might not be as dangerous as we thought it is BUT we never know because there’s no proper research for that. In the end we just have to use our heart for the benefit of the animals.

    • Cindy says:

      Dr. Why don’t you post scientific proof that it does No harm to paint turtles?! Common sense tells people it isn’t a good idea. Would you paint half your body knowing whats in paint. Or, if you needed to hide from predators, would you paint bright colors on yourself?

  16. Gretchen says:

    Is food coloring or washable paint ok if I wash it off after 5 mins?

  17. PJ Reno says:

    I found a terrapin in the street. Someone had painted initials on his shell with blue paint. How can I safely remove it?

    • Novroz says:

      Hi PJ,

      sorry for this very late reply…I have been very busy lately.
      I have never remove paint but I think you can use thinner bit by bit, not too much because the smell can be dangerous

  18. blake brown says:

    if you put dog paint on a turtle it will not kill it

  19. Brittany says:

    I saw someone use colored chalk on a tortoise shells. I thought that couldn’t be good and I am curious if anyone has an option to share.

  20. ivory says:

    You can paint on the carapace just be sure the paint doesn’t come in contact with the lines that separate the each shield ,because that is where it will sink in and they will absorb the harm full chemicals.Just keep designs small an limited!!!I personally just put small stickers these are pets i don’t under stand why you keep saying prey will identify the quickly …..

  21. roro says:

    am just asking… can we paint thier finger nails? ( claws ) am just wondering if its safe

  22. sherrie says:

    i found a turtle with a small peice of patch with red paint on it like someone painted it how or do i try to take it off

  23. Kasumi says:

    The ONLY scientific reason you have is UV absorbing?? 100% rest of it is OPINION?

    Don’t you realize even for the slightest moment that mostly applies to soft shell turtle? Box turtles do absorb UV, in the form of heat radiation from the sun and or heat lamps and if they have too much gunk on em they will have an issue, if its gobbs and gobbs, but for the smart folk using gell pens (that wash right off) or add a very light tuch and brush it half way off, it wont matter in the slightest. Debunked.

    Painting a domesticated turtle shell does not open it up to predators. You’re it’s protector now and you control this factor. It is no longer an issue. Throw that out the window. Debunked that too.

    Telling people over and over what to do doesn’t make your opinion sound more solid or even more sound, but it is a form of manipulation called brainwashing. Kinda rude.

    Painting a turtle in moderation is not animal abuse, get off it.

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Kasumi…I appreciate your comment and your opinion.

      But for me it’s a simple as this….They are as beautiful they already are…why painting them to look ugly??

      Yes!! Maybe most of them are only our (Turtle lovers) opinion, does that do any wrong to the turtles? We are just trying to keep this beautiful creature to be as beautiful as it is without human trying to make them look silly for their own amusement.

      OUR opinion might not be solid, but what’s wrong with trying to ask people NOT to paint turtle?? Is it better for us to start shouting let’s paint turtle?

      For me and other turtle lovers…yes! painting a turtle is an abuse!! You can go with your opinion and let us be with our opinion.

  24. shirl says:

    once a drop of nail polish fell on my turtle, the one that passed away

  25. lune says:

    Recently i bought two turtle. I love them alot they are too small. Howmany hours it can stay outside without water??

    Actually i need your help alot about to know them i could sent you them pics. I would like to know somany things..
    Could u please share your email?

  26. Shannon Speakman says:

    Awesome job with this article! I have no tolerance to anyone abusing any animal just to be cruel, there is no need for it,period.Thank you for posting this article I hope it reaches a ton of readers like me 🙂
    Turtle lover to two sliders: Shelly and Sheldon
    4 box turtles: Aubrey, Michael, Don, & Red

  27. Rukhsana says:

    I didn’t really knew about this and I painted the nails of my RES turtle….what should I do now????😥😥😥

    • Novroz says:

      That’s okay…you can just erase it and never do it again 😉

      It always thrills my heart if someone finds out what best for their pet turtles

  28. Someone who cares says:

    Who can I contact to report someone who has painted a turtle?

    • Novroz says:

      I am sorry I can’t help you there as I do believe we live in different country. Maybe you can try stopping them

    • Harambe says:

      You can call (203) 352-8600 for immediate help during this situation. They will fly right to you within 2 minutes and save the helpless turtle. Use the code word buttress for a 50% discount during travel expenses. #SaveTheBabes

  29. Harambe says:

    I remember my old turtle. His name was Turtle McTurtleface. He was such a beautiful creation. I loved pleasuring him and making him pleasure me. Not how you are thinking tho. Painting something or someone is a type of pleasure. The paint brush gives you that sensual feeling that lets you know who is Daddy. You can tell that is Turtle is having a good time when you are painting them if they begin to shake their legs uncontrollably like a seizure. One day I tickled little Turtle McTurtleface to hard and he died. I know this sounds bad but believe me, he died happy (:

    • Novroz says:

      ALL turtles actually act like that when you touch their upper shell but that doesn’t mean they are happy

      • Harambe says:

        No he was very happy. He would even smile when I did it. YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MY TURTLE OR HOW HE USED TO LIVE. U ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE ME MAD BECAUSE YOU KNOW HE WAS HAPPY AND YOURE JUST BEING AN ASSHOLE! Im sry for saying that i just really needed to get that off of my chest. The turtle business can be very emotional and overwhelming. I just wish you wouldnt be so rood to me when I lost my best friend. My balls will never be tickled again.Also I was touching his underbelly not his upper shell.

      • Novroz says:

        Wow… How can you say I am being rude when you are the one shouting here?

        Please put manner first here, I can and will delete any comment without manner and that includes bad words

  30. Nicole says:

    I have a question: my daughter used sidewalk chalk to draw a design on our tortoise’s shell. Is this bad like the paint? Should I wash it off right away?

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