Penguins have always been a subject of curiosity for scientists and layfolk, and while many people take a keen interest in admiring their beauty, there are many penguin facts that they do not know. If you are a penguin lover, these facts will make you appreciate these birds even more.
What penguin facts do you know? You might know them as adorable aquatic creatures, but there are numerous things that you may not be conversant with about these animals. These fun facts about the birds will surprise you while increasing your knowledge.
Fascinating penguin facts for kids
You will see penguins in a lot of kids' movies. Naturally, they encourage curiosity about these creatures. Here are some fun facts about penguins your children would love to learn:
- Penguins might look alike, but scientists have discovered about 19 different species of penguins. The most common species is the Macaroni penguin found in the Southern hemisphere.
- The biggest species of penguin, emperor penguins, have a maximum weight of 80 pounds (36 kg). The Little Blue or Fairy penguin, the smallest species, can weigh up to 2 pounds (1 kg).
- Penguins have flippers, unlike other birds with wings. They do not fly but can swim in the water, reaching speeds of up to 7.6 miles per hour (12 km/h).
- The birds face numerous threats to their lives, but none is greater than climate change. Their breeding ground is ice, but when climate change makes the ice melt, there is nowhere for them to hatch their young ones.
- The black and white colours on penguins’ bodies are essentially for camouflage. Black and white are the predominant colours but depending on the species.
- From birth to full maturity, penguins face multiple threats to life. While many chicks are born yearly, only a small percentage reach maturity. The average life expectancy of a penguin is between 15 and 20 years.
- The birds can identify their mates and young ones in a large crowd by making distinct sounds. Physically, they may appear identical, but the sounds they make can distinguish them.
Interesting facts about penguins
Penguins are interesting animals. Many things about them, ranging from appearance to behaviour, are fascinating. These facts about penguins will make you adore these aquatic birds.
- Most birds have hollow bones with low density to enable them to fly, but since penguins do not fly, they have a solid bone structure with high density.
- These birds like flocking together. They eat, swim, hunt, and nest together. In freezing weather, they huddle together to generate warmth for themselves and their young ones.
- World Penguin Day is marked on 25 April yearly. People who celebrate the day wear different shades of tuxedos that resemble the flightless birds.
- Ever wondered what these birds eat? They feed on fish, krill, and squids. Due to their large population, they can significantly reduce the available fish in a particular area.
- Even though they are excellent swimmers, the birds have feet adapted to long-distance walks. For instance, the emperor penguin can cover 100 kilometres to reach its destination.
- A group of penguins swimming in the water is called a raft, while on land, the group is called a waddle. Other collective nouns that may be used for them are rookery, huddle, and colony.
- It is believed that when the birds were first discovered, they were referred to as Strange Geese. Some theories suggest that they originated in Argentina, while others believe they originated in New Zealand.
- Even though carnivorous, they do not have teeth to tear flesh but swallow them whole. On average, the bird consumes 5 kilograms of fish daily, and the quantity increases during mating.
- Penguins are skilled nest builders when preparing to lay eggs and use pebbles as their building materials. They carefully select the best pebbles to protect their eggs from snow and flood.
- The birds identify their mates when they reach maturity and are ready to mate. Interestingly, once they become partners, they will likely remain like that for the rest of their lives.
Unique facts about penguins
If the facts above didn't impress or surprise you, prepare to have your socks blown off by the information below:
- Penguins have supraorbital glands which filter the salt they consume by drinking seawater. The salt is then secreted out of their body system through nasal passages.
- The biggest penguin species is the emperor penguin. However, fossil evidence shows that giant penguins of human size once lived. They weighed about 220 pounds (100 kilograms) and stood at 5 feet 10 inches (178 centimetres) tall.
- The penguin population is gradually decreasing, making five species endangered. It calls for human intervention to save the bird's population by keeping oceans clean and mitigating climate change.
- Most penguin species can dive up to depths of between 300 to 500 feet. However, emperor penguins go deeper and easily attain depths of 800 feet.
- The birds are social creatures and love being around other friendly animals who are not their predators. They are comfortable around humans and show no signs of hostility.
- Penguins have a special gland at the base of their tails that produces oil. The oil has antibacterial properties that keep the birds healthy while also helping in body temperature regulation. The gland is referred to as the uropygial gland.
- During catastrophic moulting, the bird sheds its feathers for about two to three weeks, making it unable to hunt or swim. Unfortunately, this also leaves it vulnerable to its predators.
- The fatter the bird is, the more chance they have of finding a mate, as being chunky means being able to protect the young ones when they hatch.
- After having eggs, the male is responsible for taking care of them while the female goes hunting. The emperor penguin is unique since it incubates eggs at its feet.
- The birds eject poop up to four feet (122 centimetres). This act is usually called the poop bomb. Since the birds live in large groups, they leave behind a trail of poop that scientists can use to trace them from space.
Weird facts about penguins
What weird penguin facts do you know? The birds might seem ordinary in appearance, but some things out of the norm will baffle you about these birds.
- Besides diving up to depths of 800 feet, the emperor penguins can stay underwater for a considerable period. For example, they can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes while underwater.
- Contrary to the belief that penguins are mammals, they are birds. Therefore, they have feathers and lay eggs like other birds, except they do not fly.
- Since the birds are found in the Southern Hemisphere, where there are no polar bears, they cannot be eaten by the bears. Bears are found in the Arctic, where the birds are not found. They are, however, the natural prey of sea lions.
- While incubating the eggs on their feet, a male penguin can stand up to 65 days to keep the eggs warm and safe from wild storms. The temperatures can be as low as -75 degrees celsius.
- The female penguins can swim up to 50 miles into the ocean in search of fish, squid, and krill. For them to hunt, they are excellent swimmers with high speeds.
- The birds’ feet do not freeze. Special arteries in their legs can adjust blood flow in response to foot temperature, enabling them to send just enough blood to their feet to keep them from freezing.
- While they are all called penguins, a male bird is a coсk, and a female one is a hen. Their young ones are called chicks, similar to chickens.
- Depending on the species, the birds’ eggs may take different durations to hatch. The period ranges from one month to 66 days for emperor penguins.
- Most penguins lay only two eggs, except the emperor and king penguins, who lay one egg. With two eggs, there is a better chance of one hatching.
- Most chicks do not reach full maturity as they are likely to die or be killed within the first year of life. For instance, there is a 90 percent chance that a chick emperor penguin will die, and 50 percent of chick king penguins will die.
These birds are not just black and white aquatic creatures now that you have learned about the penguin facts. They are much more than their appearance and play a vital role in the ocean ecosystem. Share these facts with friends who love birds to increase their knowledge.
Legit.ng published butterfly facts for kids and adults. While many recognise butterflies for their beauty, they know little about them. The facts will help you appreciate their beauty and improve your knowledge.
Many things are said about butterflies; while some might be mythical, others are facts. To know what is true about the creatures, this article has 40 butterfly facts that fascinate you and your kids.