Posts tagged ‘Molting’

Do snakes shed their skin?

Snake

A snake sheds its skin several times a year.  When a snake grows, its skin does not grow with its body.  Instead, the snake grows a new skin underneath the old one.  Eventually, the old skin becomes too tight, and needs to come off.

The snake begins to shed its old skin by rubbing its nose on a rock or a tree trunk in order to loosen the skin around its mouth.  Then, by crawling through rocks and brush, the snake manages to wriggle headfirst out of the old skin.  The skin frequently comes off whole, turned inside out.  This process is called molting.–Dick Rogers

Why do birds molt?

Molting Bird

Feathers wear out, as clothes do, and need to be replaced. The process is called “molting.”  Birds molt their feathers at least once a year, in late summer or early fall.  Feathers are made from a substance called “keratin.”  It is basically the same material your hair is made of. 

In molting, old worn feathers drop out of their sockets in a bird’s skin and new ones grow in their place.  Some birds grow bright, new feathers for the nesting season. 

These birds molt twice a year.  Most birds molt just a few feathers at a time, so they are able to fly during molting periods.Dick Rogers

Why do birds have feathers?

Birds have something that no other animal has—a covering of feathers.  These feathers help birds to fly and also keep them warm.  Birds have two main kinds of feathers:  “contour” and “down”.

The large, outer feather that cover the wings, body and tail of a bird are

Bird

called “contour” feathers.  These feathers streamline the body and help the bird fly smoothly through the air.

“Down” feathers are the soft, fluffy feathers found under the outer feathers.  Down feathers provide warmth.

Waterbirds have extra-thick coats of down.  That is why the ducks we see in the wintertime padding about in icy water are not cold.

The entire covering of feathers is called the “plumage.”

Feathers wear out, just as clothes do, and need to be replaced.

Birds lose an their feathers at least once a year and replace them with new ones.  This change of feathers is a process called “molting”.  – Dick Rogers