What is moulting?

1 Answer
Apr 2, 2018

Molting (moulting) is when one organism sheds something like hair, feathers, shells, or skin to make way for new growth.


When something molts (moults) it just means the organism has grown too big for its current state. The most common example is with snakes or spiders. When a snake or spider grows too big for its skin it simply leaves the old small one behind.

Snake Picture
Snake Shed

Also See:
Tarantula Molting

Birds also molt. This type of molting, however, is not skin but rather feathers. Birds will lose their feathers they hatched with (which tend to be downy and primarily for warmth) in favor of feathers better suited to flying when they are old enough to leave the nest. Penguins do the same thing, just their feathers are better for swimming instead of flying.

Emperor Penguin Molt