Do whales and dolphins get sunburn?

amy Whale, breaching, Stellwagen Bank National...According to this article from The Royal Society (published November 2010) whales are very prone to the harmful rays of the sun. The scientists discovered whales that spend more time at the surface of the sea had more skin cells exposed and therefore were showing more damage from the ultraviolet radiation.

It was even pointed out that lighter species of blue whales are more sensitive to the sun than darker fin whales or sperm whales.

The authors noted, “We conclude that the thinning ozone layer may pose a risk to the health of whales and other vulnerable wildlife.”


  1. Well If I am correct in my memory Jacques Cousteau stated that they can get sunburned in the early 70s. I also know they are quite close to us in many ways and that would mean the paler the mammal the easier it is to get sunburn. I am sure the Beluga is more prone to having damage than the Killer Whale. SO yeah I can see it happening and yes the ozone means less protective sunscreen. I guess they need to get a higher SPF!!!

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