Baldness and hair loss is a common attribute found mostly in men, but it effects some women too. But why don’t animals suffer the same loss of their respective fur or feathers? Well actually they do! At first glance these mammals and feathers of the sky are barely recognizable without their usual features that distinguish them. A lot of our ability to mark animals and determine what they are is by their color. You have to take a closer look at things like size, ears and feet to even guess what they are or what family of species they belong to.
While some of the animals mentioned in this video are far from being related to humans, they can suffer hair loss or baldness for the same reasons we do--genetics. Each strand of your hair sits in what is known as a follicle. Baldness is caused when the follicles shrink, causing hair to become thinner and shorter. This also occurs in animals like Dolores, a spectacled bear, which normally have thick, black fur. Sudden hair loss at a zoo in Germany left her with only a mane of fur around her face.
Some species carry a baldness gene that cause them to be born without fur. There are breeds of hairless dogs, cats, mice and guinea pigs. Yes, I said guinea pigs, which are actually referred to as “skinny pigs.” Other animals may be born without fur, but as they grow, they begin to develop their protective outer strands. For example, wombats and kangaroos don’t actually start developing hair until they emerge from their mother’s pouch several months after their birth.
Other causes of hair loss in animals that is similar to humans is an autoimmune disease called Alopecia. This occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks their hair follicles. Patches of hair then start falling out, and may even affect hair loss in other parts of the body, not just the head.
Another common cause of hair loss in animals can be due to parasites. Like a common occurrence of bald squirrels, for example where an illness caused by mites are to blame for the lack of fur. Even a raccoon is left unrecognizable after a run-in with the mange or fungal infection. Birds are not safe from this either. Oscar, a 35-year-old female cockatoo, suffered from a beak and feather disease that caused it to pluck its own feathers because they were irritating her skin.
In this video, we will look at ten examples of animals whose follicles have turned against them. See if you can recognize them by their features and the breadcrumbs of clues we leave along the way.