During your beach walks this spring, should you happen upon an elephant seal breathing hard, missing patches of hair and spotted with sores, don't worry.

The critter's not dying; it just looks that way.

Now is the time of year when elephant seals begin to come ashore to molt, said Keith Chandler, director of the Seaside Aquarium, and they're not a pretty sight.

This week, a young male in Hammond, which is on the North Coast near Fort Stevens State Park, is causing a bit of a fuss. People who see him fear he's not faring well.