#135: Why are the seals on the rocks?

If you have walked by the Atlantic Harbor Seal exhibit recently, you may have seen something that only happens during this time of year. Our harbor seals are molting! Molting is a process where a seal sheds its old coat of hair as a brand new beautiful coat grows in. For much of the two to three weeks it takes to molt, our seals spend a lot of time hauled out on the rocks. It may look like they are just taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather, but staying out on the rocks serves a really important purpose.

This gives them the opportunity to rest and conserve energy as their bodies go through the molting process. During the molting season, which begins in early July and ends in early August, there are days when you may find all seven seals taking a snooze during the day. As the new hair grows in, their skin can be more sensitive, so we give the seals Vitamin E until their new coats are complete. Check out the picture above. How many seals can you find hauled out on the rocks?



Today I took a few pictures of the seals that are right in the middle of their molts. If you look closely, you can see the color changes, especially on Amelia. The darker patches on her back show off her beautiful, silvery colored new hair. The rest of her body is still covered with her older hair, which has now taken on a yellow tint. The hair even feels different. The old hair has a rough feel to it, while the new hair feels very soft. Stay tuned for some more pictures as they continue to grow in their new coats!



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