Molty time of year

Ahh, molt.  The time of year where the fur balls are flying, the seals just want to sleep, and that glorious new coat is slowly, but surely, coming in. Molt season is different for each species and happens once a year.  

Smoke mid-molt
At the New England Aquarium, Atlantic harbor seals molt July/August, California sea lions molt Sept/Oct, and the Northern fur seals molt Oct/Nov. It is most obvious on the harbor seals, as you can see patches of old and new hair.  

Chiidax the Northern fur seal
The sea lions and fur seals mainly drop hairballs everywhere, and your hand is basically a mitten after touching their bodies.

Commander after a little rub during molting season

During molt, the seals are very tired and sleep quite a bit—it's hard work growing in your new coat!  

Zoe and Sierra the California sea lions, still snuggling

Once done, the harbor seals have a shiny, silver coat. The fur seals are more golden and the sea lions blonde. During the year, their fur protects the seals and sea lions' skin and keeps the fur seals warm.  Over time, the older fur needs to be replaced so it can do its job well.  

Come by the Aquarium to see all the molty (in)action!

Zoe and Sierra, fur balls and new coats

Seals and sea lions aren't the only animals that molt. Check out these posts:


A nose by any other name...

The Northern fur seals' scientific name is Callorhinus ursinus. Ursinus means "bear-like" and Callorhinus means "beautiful nose".  So you could call them a beautiful-nosed bear and be somewhat correct! Well, I think their noses are pretty cute—what do you think? Do you have a favorite?






The sea lions are serious cuddlers

See the sea lions—sleeping and splashing. Plan a visit and buy ticket online—no service charge.

Don't you just love going through old pictures? We stumbled on this one of Zoe and Sierra having a powerfully cuddly nap and we got a laugh. These two had a whole dry deck in this behind-the-scenes area but they opted for the perch and pig-pile approach on the side ledge.

Zoe and Sierra know how to cuddle

These two sea lions are definitely a tactile pair, almost always touching during nap time, rarely a flipper's distance apart when playing. The fur seals, on the other hand, are much more independent. They may be near each other but they definitely maintain their personal space—even while napping underwater.

If you think this is cute, check out these pics: