20 Fun Facts about Penguins!
Compiled by Jacklyn Szetu
1. Penguins are carnivorous animals and catch their prey live in the sea.
2. Penguins vary widely in shape and size, with the emperor penguin being the largest weighing up to 41 kilograms and the little penguin being the smallest, averaging only 1 kilogram.
3. Chinstrap penguins on Zavodovski Island in the South Sandwich Islands currently hold the Guinness World Record for largest penguin colony, consisting of approximately 2 million penguins.
4. Penguins do not have teeth but do have spines on both their tongues and the inside of their beaks to help them grip their prey.
5. Scientists have discovered some penguins swallowing small stones and pebbles. Scientists speculate that this could aid the digestion of food or reduce buoyancy when diving.
6. Penguins cannot breathe underwater; the duration of their dives varies between species, from 7 to 20 minutes.
7. Like dogs, penguins pant to release heat and stay cool.
8. Penguins can drink salt water as their supraorbital gland filters the salt from their bloodstream.
9. Penguins have large solid bones without air spaces to facilitate diving by reducing buoyancy.
10. Emperor penguins have the highest density of feathers in the world, averaging 100 feathers per 6.5 square centimeters.
11. The largest penguin fossils found by archeologists have been up to 5 feet tall.
12. In 2009 a Humboldt penguin, zookeepers named “Ralph” lost all of his feathers and was fitted with a wetsuit to prevent sunburn.
13. Gentoo penguins are the world’s fastest underwater birds; they can reach speeds of up to 36 kilometers per hour!
14. Of the eighteen penguin species, five are categorized as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
15. Penguins produce oil from a gland near their tails, which they use to provide a waterproof coat for their feathers.
16. A healthy adult penguin in Antarctica has no terrestrial predators.
17. During each breeding season, the king and emperor penguins will only lay one egg.
18. Emperor penguins huddle together to protect themselves from the wind and cold, they each take turns moving into the safer and warm interior of the huddle.
19. The stereotypical gender roles are reversed in emperor penguins, as the female goes out to hunt whilst the male incubates the egg. Once hatched, the male will also produce milk for the chick from a gland in his esophagus.
20. Male gentoo penguins give pebbles to females in order to court them during mating season. If the female accepts the offer she will take the pebble and add it to her nest.