“Tanning is not just for people,” a recent article from a Minneapolis NBC affiliate begins. Turtles need their time in the sun, too.
SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America has installed a new “tanning light system” to help its tortoises get more of the vitamin D their bodies crave in their indoor aquarium. Older lights previously gave them some exposure, but the new system provides a truer imitation of sunlight and will increase vitamin D production, according to aquarist Ryan Foyt.
“It’s very important for the turtles to be exposed to this UVB light. Being underneath the Mall of America, we don’t get a lot of exposure with the sun so we need to replicate that with these UVB lights,” Ryan Foyt told KARE 11.
Just like people need vitamin D to support bone health, the sunshine vitamin is critical for making turtles’ shells harder and stronger.
But tanning isn’t just about vitamin D in the animal kingdom. We also know that blue whales use photoprotection, or “base tans” to protect themselves from sunburn when they migrate to the Gulf of California.