Tuesday, September 20

It's Catastrophic

As promised here's Monk Seal Monday--on Tuesday.

I surveyed a local beach yesterday and found two female seals. When you see these pictures you're going to ask questions like; why do they look so bad, they look sick, are they hurt, are they dead?

They are not sick, hurt, or dead. They are experiencing their annual Castastrophic Molt.  Its a time where they shed the entire outer layer of hair and skin. They don't feel well (I mean,would you?) they aren't eating much and spend even more time sleeping. The whole process takes anywhere from 10 days to several weeks, depending on the health conditions and age of the seal. They also tend to spend more time on sandy beaches, using the sand as a loofa!! Smart animals.

Going to give you some more info about each of these girls.

This is RK28, she's 14-15 years of age and has had a couple of known pups. One of those pups included the 2 week old pup that was killed 2 summers ago by a stray dog. She suffered some injuries as well as she tried to defend her pup. She is heavily scared and one of the largest female seals I've every seen.  She has another interesting injury on her back, in fact it's still healing. It's referred to as a mobbing wound. Seems the male seals find her desirable and gang up on her to order to mate. Poor thing!! All of those scars make it easy to identify her and I must say she's one of my favorites.

Here you can see the shedding skin and hair

Look closely and see her many scars on her belly

another look at the shedding of skin and hair

many scars on her chin and neck

her mobbing wound, healing nicely
Here's RF30, a 2 year old female.  She will not be of reproductive age for a couple more years. She's spending time cruising up and down the eastern shore of Kauai. A couple months ago she found herself in trouble as she got her herself hooked by a large fishing hook. Well, it was life threating and so she was captured and was "life' flighted (via a Coast Guard C130) to Oahu for a marine mammal vet team to remove the hook. She was returned 3 days later and is doing fine.

1/2 green 1/2 gray
needs a little more scrubbing

out for a swim

hanging under the trees
I hope to get some photos of these two once the molt is complete---they'll be pretty and shiny gray!!
Stay tuned....


  1. Love seeing these pics Val! So glad you told us it was a Molting time, so I wouldn't be freaked out. I wonder what happened to the dog who killed the pup and attacked the mom-hope its owners faced some sort of repercussion for it. Have a splendid day!
    Hugs, Noreen

  2. So interesting. We never knew they molted
    Lily & Edward

  3. Oh my! They do look terrible. If one didn't know, one would get a vet out there asap!

  4. this is all news to me, I had no idea they shed. that poor girl with the hook. glad she will be ok.


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