Along with a healthy diet, turtles also have other few requirements. Sunlight is another crucial part of their health requirements. You might wonder, how and why is sunlight important for pets? Well, you might know that sunlight is essential for the overall functioning of the environment. Sunlight helps them regulate their body temperature. They absorb other essential nutrient required for their body from sunlight.
Let’s dig a little deeper into their needs for sunlight. Turtles need sunlight for four main reasons.
They need sun’s heat to warm their body –
Aquatic turtles in the wild bask in the sun every day. Because, turtles are ectothermic, they cannot regulate their own body temperature and are highly dependent on an external source i.e. sunlight to warm their bodies. A walk in the sun can improve their metabolism. Keeping their body warm can help them fight various infections and diseases. The heat can also help turtles fight harmful or bad bacteria in their body.
Absorbing nutrients from the sun –
Turtles absorb UVA and UVB rays from the sun, these nutrients are important for their body and their metabolism. The UVA rays improves their appetite, physical activity, as well as their breeding behavior. The UVB rays is a good source of calcium for their body and improves their bone and shell’s health.
The sunlight provides them with vitamins D, their body then converts it into vitamin D3. A turtle can absorb calcium from his or her daily diet too. However, to process and utilize the calcium, turtles need vitamin D3 that can be converted only after absorbing vitamin D from the sun.
Help dry out their skin and shell –
This is one of the most basic and primary reasons that turtle need sunlight. The time turtles spend in water differ according to the requirement or habit of each species. Staying in the water for too long can increase their risk of contracting harmful bacteria or fungi on their shell. If this is not treated on time it can cause to rot their shells and even prove to be fatal. Therefore, basking in the sun helps them dry their shell and is a best way they can combat such infections.
Maintains the Circadian Rhythm –
Circadian rhythms are basically the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that one follows in a 24 hour cycle. Similar to us humas, turtles also follow the cycle of day and night. Because of sunlight, turtles can know the difference of day and night. Due to which, they are able to follow their daily rhythm in term of activity they perform.
In case your turtle is not able to receive or absorb UVB rays for a longer period of time, it can cause lack of vitamin D3 in turtles. This can then lead to various issues such as bone decay, shell decay, limited growth and premature death.
Doesn’t your pet turtle’s sunlight requirement need sound like someone else’s sunlight need? Yes, it Jadoo! An alien character from a popular Bollywood movie “Koi Mil Gaya!”
So allow your pet to walk out of the water and have a nice walk in the sun at anytime of the day and for as long as he or she wishes to. It will not only promote their overall well being but also make them happier.