Be Careful Wearing Nail Polish Around Tortoises

Tortoises have excellent color vision.  In addition to the colors that humans observe, they also see into the ultraviolet spectrum according to Ronald Orenstein, author of Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins: Survivors in Armour.  Because of this wonderful gift, people need to be careful when interacting with tortoises.  I have heard of tortoises mistaking painted toenails for a piece of fruit.  My friend told me how the tortoise she grew up with, Tommy, used to chase her when she wore flip flops.  As a veterinarian, I always wear clear nail polish for this very reason.  I don’t want a reptile to confuse my finger with a berry. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.