The sun is a powerful force, and it can do some severe damage to our skin. It’s one reason sunscreen is so prevalent in the summer months; we’re all trying to protect ourselves from the sun’s damaging rays. However, animals don’t use sunscreen – they have their unique strategies for protection.
Animals protect themselves from the sun just like we do. Scales, fur, feathers, and hair can all act as sunscreen on their own. Some animals, such as pigs, cover themselves in mud, while spiders use their webs to stop the sun’s rays. Other animals live underground out of the sun, while camouflage can block harmful UV rays.
There are many ways that animals protect themselves from the sun. Humans have melanin, as do some animals. Melanin is a pigment that protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Melanin is found in the skin, hair, and eyes.
Animals also have their unique ways of protecting themselves from UV rays: scales can protect animals like snakes; fur protects mammals such as bears or dogs; feathers cover birds’ bodies to keep them warm during cold weather, but they’re excellent protection against sunburn too!
Some animals have stripes or spots. This helps protect them against predators, but it also helps break up the UV rays.
Check out how these animals have adapted their skin to protect themselves from the sun.
Spiders use their silk to create a web, and the web is excellent at stopping the sun’s rays from entering. The sunlight reflects off the web, making it not only great sunscreen but also harder for predators to see the spider in its natural environment. Spiders even have fine hairs on some parts of their body, such as around the eyes and mouthparts, which act as a natural sunscreen.
Spiders don’t suffer from sunburn, and they have no risk of skin cancer. The only downside is that the sun’s rays can cause their webs to dry out.
Moles are mammals that live underground in tunnels and burrow all day long to avoid the sun’s rays. However, they have also developed special skin protection: they secrete oil from their glands onto themselves as sunscreen.
This oily substance is also used for insulation against cold temperatures at night when moles come out above ground during warmer months. You can sometimes see moles above ground during the day collecting nesting material, and the oil stops their skin from burning in the sun. The only part of their body they have to worry about is their nose. The mole has adapted its body shape to fit into small spaces, which also means less surface area exposed to the sun. Moles can quickly burrow into the soil to avoid the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The jaguar has a thick coat of fur, protecting it from the sun. The skin on its face is also covered in spots, providing camouflage and reducing sunlight exposure to sensitive areas like the eyes or nose that could cause damage if unprotected for too long.
Jaguars have a few different strategies against UV radiation. They include sleeping in the shade under trees during the brightest hours when most harmful rays come down than at other times throughout the day. This way, their bodies can rest without having any adverse effects caused by a lack of protection.
Meerkats have some excellent adaptations to the sun. They can often be seen sunbathing and seem to love the sun. They have black rings around their eyes, which protect them from the sun. Their eyes have a transparent protective membrane that helps keep dirt out of their eyes while digging, something they have in common with cats and dogs.
Meerkats live in burrows that are generally shaded by trees or other objects and use these as shelters from intense sunlight during midday hours when it is most harmful to them (and predators).
The coloration on their backs helps them absorb more heat during the day, giving off at night when it is cooler outside. This helps them stay warm but also stops them from overheating. They do this because if meerkats get too hot while sleeping, there’s an increased risk of dehydration since they need water, just like humans.
One of the ways pigs avoid developing sunburn is by protecting their skin from the sun. You may have seen pigs wallowing in mud, but they don’t just do this for fun. Pigs cover themselves in mud to protect their skin from the sun. When the mud dries, the dry dirt blocks harmful rays from the sun and helps to keep moisture in their skin. Their snouts also have hard skin that allows them to stop burning.
Pigs are excellent at finding shade, and they spend a lot of time under trees. When the sun is at its hottest, pigs will often find shade and stay there until they cool off again.
The mud that covers their skin also helps protect them from insects like ticks or mosquitoes because these bugs can’t get through the thick layers of earth. As well as a natural sunscreen, mud also reduces their risk of contracting diseases transmitted by insect bites.
Some farmers use human sunscreen on pigs to stop them from getting sunburnt.
Whales protect their skin from the sun using their fat. The skin of a whale is covered with thick layers of blubber. Blubber helps keep them warm when submerged underwater during cold seasons. However, fat can also cool their body temperature down, so they don’t overheat. The animal can open its blood shunts in warmer waters, allowing blood to flow through the blubber. This allows body heat to be lost through the skin, cooling them down.
Whales can spend a long time at the surface, but it depends on the species as to whether they burn. Sperm whales typically have dark skin and spend a lot of time at the surface. The fin whale is a dark color, and it’s rare to see them get burnt, which is primarily due to the high levels of melanin in their skin. Blue whales don’t spend much time at the surface between dives but are paler, which may be why they do not spend much time at the surface.
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.