In mammals, pelage is the hair, fur, or wool that covers the animal. In many mammals, the pelage is made up of more than one type of hair. Some of the most prominent types of hair that make up the pelage include guard hairs (such as the defensive spines of porcupines), and bristles (which make up the mane of lions).
The pelage often times molts (process that sheds hair) at various times in the animal's development. The juvenile pelage may go through an intermediate form before settling to an adult appearance.
The pelage in modern mammals serves to protect its owner from heat and cold, as means to signal (e.g., the contrasting pattern of striped skunks can be a warning to predators), defense (by matching the color of the pelage to that of the immediate surrounding), as well as to protect the animal from abrasion.
The embryos of various mammals, including humans, are covered with a pelage called lanugo.
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