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We Are Sunshine

Tans for Turtles: Minnesota Aquarium Installs New Tanning Lights

Friday, June 19th, 2015

“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.

Click here to read the article from KARE 11