Everybody loves penguins! From their dapper tuxedos and stoic personalities to their crazy macaroni hairstyles and amazing parenting feats, penguins are in a class of their own. Here are a few facts about these captivating creatures:
• Did you know that there are no penguins at the North Pole? They live in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, the Falkland Islands, the Galapagos Islands, and South Africa.
• A wild penguin will live an average of 15-20 years.
• Penguins spend nearly 75% of their life in the water (mostly hunting for food)! Their eyes actually work better underwater, enabling them to quickly spot their prey even in dark waters.
• Their black and white tuxedo is more than just formal attire. Their dark colors help them blend into the ocean waters when viewed from above. From below, a penguin’s lighter colors meld with snow and the colors of the sky. Their two-toned camouflage protects them from sea eagles and skua, sea lions, orcas, and the dreaded leopard seals, which hide below ice flows to wait for their prey.
• An emperor penguin can hold its breath under water for up to 20 minutes. A penguin’s heart rate slows to an average of three beats per minute while it is underwater, allowing the oxygen supply in its bloodstream to last longer. They can also dive deeper than any other bird, to depths of 1, 850 feet.
• Penguins don’t have any teeth! Instead, they have barbed tongues and throats to help them eat fish, squid, shrimp, krill, and other crustaceans.
• Penguins cannot fly, at least not in the air. In the water, however, their flippers propel them through the water at speeds of four to seven miles per hour. The fastest swimmer is the Gentoo, reaching up to 22 mph!
• Penguins molt every year, completely losing all of their feathers. It takes two to three weeks for their feathers to grow back and, during that time, they are unable to swim or fish. Penguins will fatten themselves up beforehand in order to survive their lengthy fast.
• There are over 18 different penguin species. Little blue penguins are the shortest penguin, measuring about 13 inches tall. Emperor penguins are the tallest, reaching about 47 inches. emperor penguins are also the biggest, weighing up to 90 pounds. Weighing in at only 2 pounds, the fairy penguin is the smallest of the species.
Short or tall, big or little, penguins are definitely amazing animals. To learn more about penguins, visit http://worldwildlife.org/species/penguin.