5 Ways Animals Protect Themselves from the Sun

The animal kingdom has no shortage of strange and fascinating creatures. Each of them has their own unique defense system to avoid predators or to keep themselves safe from the elements. One of the elements that animals need to deal with the most is the sun. How do animals protect themselves from the sun? Here are five of the ways that different animals protect themselves from the sun’s rays.Animals Protect Themselves from the Sun


Hippos are similar to the wallowing animals, but they have an extra way to protect themselves from the sun. In addition to spending time in the water, the hippo is able to create and coat itself in a red oil. It looks like blood, so for years, people thought that hippos actually did sweat blood, making the hippo an intimidating creature. Other animals sweat to keep cool as well. Dogs sweat and pant to keep cool, and horses are also known to sweat as well. Despite the other animals that sweat, though, hippos are the only ones to sweat in this unique reddish color.

Creating Sunscreen

Like humans wear sunscreen, some animals are actually able to create their own sunscreen. Quite a few different species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish secrete something called gadusol, which acts as a natural sunscreen. Unfortunately, humans and other mammals are not able to create their own sunscreen. Instead, they create melanin and other enzymes to try to block out the sun.

Fur and Coats

Some animals have less of a chance of getting sunburned because they have a coat that protects and covers their skin, in a similar way to the protection a shirt gives a human. These animals, like humans, still need to have a place to get out of the sun. Shade is just as important for animals as it is for a human.


Some animals are not able to sweat, and many others also use the elements around them to create ways to protect themselves from the sun’s rays. Elephants and pigs roll in mud, which keeps them cool while it evaporates. Once it has dried, they are protected in a coat of dirt. Rhinos use the dust to create a similar protective coat over themselves.

Being Nocturnal

Several different species protect themselves from the sun’s light by being nocturnal, or by sleeping during the day and being awake at night. The Koala bear, for example, spends the majority of its day resting in the branches of a eucalyptus tree. The leaves of the tree also protect the koala. Chimpanzees and gorillas are both not nocturnal, but they are most active during the early morning and late afternoon, taking a break and resting when it is warmest. This is another excellent way for them to avoid the sun.

Each member of the animal kingdom is unique in the different ways that they protect themselves from predators and the elements that are a threat to their health and safety. While some animals are able to make their own sunblock in their bodies, others use different methods to stay cool and protected from the sun.