What’s Molting?

Molting, or Moulting, is a pretty common process that most animals go through, where they cast off a part of their body during specific times of year, or a specific time in that animal's life cycle. Molting comes in a variety of forms - whether it's shedding skin or losing hair/fur, or possibly the entire exoskeleton like some arthropods. It's very important animals molt, in the same ways it's important we get a hair cut or clip your nails every once in a while - it keeps them clean and tider, makes it easier and more comfortable during certain seasons, and some animals have their skeleton on the outside so they need to molt as they get bigger and bigger! Here are just a few animals that molt, along with the time of year or their life when the molting usually takes place:

  • Cats & Dogs - Both of these mammals molt in the form of shedding their fur, often in the spring to cool down for summer, as well as in fall for dogs. Mammals need to molt fur not specifically because of the temperature, but actually because of how their bodies respond to the changes in sunlight during certain seasons.
  • Snakes  - Snakes will molt pretty regularly, whenever they grow too big for their old skin, so they molt in the form of shedding that skin. Many snakes will give off visual clues when they are getting ready to molt, such as their eyes becoming a milky clouded white color.
  • Insects - As the exoskeleton of an insect grows, they continually molt as a larvae. In species where they go through a complete metamorphosis, their final molt will be when they transform their body, such as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.



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