Daylight Brings Health and Safety to Animal Shelters, Zoos and Beyond

Just like humans, animals need ample natural light for a happy and healthy life.

Domesticated or wild—we want all animals to live a happy and healthy life. One way to help achieve this is by providing them with access to ample natural light. Daylight (as a source of interior lighting) offers numerous benefits for house pets and exotic species alike, including improving mood and sleep, boosting their immune system and reducing stress. From zoos to animal shelters to barns, we must ensure all animals have the best conditions to thrive in their current habitat.

Improved Mood

Natural light helps release serotonin in the brain, a hormone associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. Exposure to natural daylight can help animals feel more relaxed, improving their overall mood. This is especially important for animals who spend a lot of time indoors.

Better Sleep

Exposure to daylight can regulate animals’ circadian rhythms, responsible for a proper sleep-wake cycle, leading to improved nighttime sleep, daytime alertness, and enhanced health and well-being.

Reduced Stress

Research indicates that natural light exposure can lower cortisol levels. This stress-related hormone is particularly crucial for animals facing anxiety or stress in challenging situations like thunderstorms or high-stress environments.

Natural Light in Zoos Exhibits

Zoo exhibits are essential to animal welfare, providing animals with a safe and stimulating environment. As previously stated, the use of daylight as an interior source of lighting offers a range of animal benefits, but did you know it can also enhance the overall visitor experience?

Woodland Park Zoo

When the Woodland Park Zoo sought for a way to increase exhibit sustainability and ensure their Komodo dragons received the best possible care, they decided to retrofit their decades-old exhibit. The exhibit enclosure, which featured a glass roof, would be replaced with a solid roof that would better seal in the heat and humidity the Komodo dragons needed to thrive. Unfortunately, this new roof would eliminate all the natural light in the exhibit that the Komodo dragons required to thrive.

The design team used 13 Solatube SkyVault M74 Tubular Daylighting Devices to bring natural light deep into the space while ensuring the enclosure maintained the Komodo dragon’s strict climate conditions. The customizable daylighting systems even allowed the zoo to hide all the lighting fixtures from guests’ view in the observation areas. Now, the Woodland Park Zoo can provide the best care and environment for their Komodo dragons, increase exhibit sustainability and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Natural Light in Animal Shelters

Animal shelters provide a temporary home for pets and animals who have been abandoned or need a safe place to stay. While these shelters are essential for the welfare of the animals, they can also be a stressful environment for the pets who live there. One way to help alleviate this stress and improve the well-being of shelter animals is by providing access to natural daylight.

Natural lighting can help shelter animals feel comfortable and relaxed, making them more adoptable. Did you know it can even help animals get adopted faster? This study explains how natural light can help increase adoption rates and lead to more animals finding their homes. It includes the following main points:

  1. As mentioned earlier, natural daylight can enhance animals’ mood by increasing their serotonin levels, consequently reducing stress and anxiety often found in shelter animals. By reducing stress, animals are more likely to showcase their genuine personalities and interact better with prospective adopters.
  2. The presence of natural daylight can enhance an animal’s appeal to prospective adopters. A well-illuminated surrounding can highlight an animal’s coat, eyes and overall appearance, creating a more vivid and healthy-looking appearance.
  3. Furthermore, a well-lit environment can cultivate a more welcoming ambiance for prospective adopters. A bright and inviting atmosphere can help create a sense of ease and comfort, encouraging potential adopters to spend more time interacting with the animals, leading to increased adoptions.

Solatube Daylighting Systems in Animal Shelters

Over the years, Solatube Daylighting Systems have been implemented in animal shelters around the world, creating brighter and healthier spaces for the animals waiting for their furever home.

“The dogs will wake up with natural light, know night from day, and we believe it will dramatically impact the general atmosphere in the entire building. Stressed-out dogs create stressed-out volunteers and staff. Peaceful, happy animals are far more likely to be adopted…making room for more who need homes. I was personally stunned by my own experience of being in the kennel… I felt like I was outdoors, flooded by this amazing soft, yet very, very bright light. I have never experienced anything like it.”
-Susan Elliott-Rink, Project Coordinator Pet Rescue by Judy

Are you looking for a flexible and effective way to introduce natural light and benefit your furry (or scaly) friend? 

If you want to learn how to maximize natural light for your next animal-focused commercial project, call 888.SOLATUBE or visit