Man arrested for dumping red paint down gopher tortoise hole

LAKE COUNTY, Fla .— Wildlife investigators have charged a man they say is responsible for a gopher tortoise being covered in red paint.

A paint company worker, Edwin Escalera, is accused of dumping paint down a gopher tortoise hole.

Gopher tortoises are a threatened Florida species.

WFTV reports that a hole filled with red paint was found at a small commercial business park where Ram Striping leases warehouse space and keeps equipment.

Investigators say the paint on the tortoise matched that paint.

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Escalera said he didn't know the tortoise was in the hole, but was charged with littering and injuring the endangered gopher tortoise.

If convicted, Escalera faces up to $600 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

The good news is the tortoise is doing well and nearly all of the paint has been removed.

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