Can Animals Get Sunburns?

We know that we need sunscreen in order to protect our skin from harmful sunshine, but what about our pets? Can animals get sunburns and suffer from the typical consequences of spending too much time in the sun?

According to Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian at the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Bronx, “animals can get sunburn, just as people do, from too much sun exposure.”

“Wild animals are marvelously adapted to their environment, so those in areas with lots of sunlight usually have scales, feathers, or fur to protect them,” Calle said for New York Times. “They also retreat to burrows, shady areas or water; wallow in water or mud; or spray dust or water on themselves when the Sun is at its peak.”

Some animals are more susceptible to sunburn than others. Elephants and rhinos are at the most risk, as well as freshly shorn sheep. Animals with fur can deal a bit better because their skin is not directly exposed.