Keepin’ it Chill for World Penguin DayApril 25, 2023
Where Do Penguins Live?
Penguins live in a variety of climates and areas- in fact, there’s 18 different species of penguins! These penguins live in areas extending beyond Antarctica including Tierra del Fuego, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, South Orkneys, South Shetland, Bouvet, Peter Islands, Falkland, Kerguelen, Southern Australia, New Zealand, Chatham Islands, Tasmania, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, and Isla Fernandina! One important commonality between all these areas is that all penguins live south of the equator with the northern most penguins living in Isabela, Philippines.
What penguins does SeaWorld Orlando care for?
We have close to 300 penguins, including 6 out of the 18 species of penguins here at SeaWorld Orlando, each with their own unique characteristics. For example, Chinstrap Penguins have a thin, black line under their chins, while Rockhopper Penguins sport spiky hairdos. Their “hairdo” consists of the yellow crest of feathers that are found just above/behind the eyes (you may think they’re long eyebrows). King Penguins are tall and stately (you may mistake them for emperor penguins- that’s their larger counterpart); Adelie Penguins are small, but a wee bit feisty and Gentoo Penguins have a single white stripe on the tops of their heads. SeaWorld Orlando also cares for Magellanic Penguins, who are black with a single white stripe across their chest. Magellanic penguins closely resemble the other penguins in the “banded” families, such as the African or Humboldt penguins. These little guys can only be visited at one of our exclusive behind-the-scenes penguin tours, which can be reserved here.
How can penguins live in such cold temperatures?
When you visit Antarctica: The Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando, you will quickly realize how frigid of a climate these little birds live in! Just like us, keeping warm is vital for survival, but penguins have found ways to adapt to their freezing cold environments. Penguins have very thick skin to help keep them insulated, and they huddle together to generate body heat. Also, notice that black and white coloring? The black color helps absorb the heat from the sun. Pretty neat, right? Penguin feathers are some of the most amazing and unique adaptations that penguins have. Further south, species may have 80-100 feathers per square inch! Picture a postage stamp with 100 feathers attached! Closer to the equator they may have half as many, but that’s still a thick layer! Their preen (oil) gland helps to make sure the feathers are waterproof so their skin stays dry with the trapped air acting as an insulator against the cold waters when swimming and diving.
What Do Penguins Eat?
Penguins enjoy an all-seafood diet, which includes fish, squid, krill, and crustaceans. Penguins’ bills have a hook at the end, which helps them grab their food and their tongues have bristles that keep their food from escaping their mouths. Penguins are great divers; they can dive to depths of over 400 feet underwater to obtain their food. That’s the height of the SeaWorld Sky Tower!
How tall are penguins?
Penguins range in a variety of sizes, ranging from 3.7 ft to as small as 14-18 inches! Even though they come in a range of sizes, their bodies are streamlined for great underwater adventures. And since they have such dense bones, people are often surprised about how much penguins weigh. As part of their care, each of our penguins is weighed every few months to make sure they are maintaining a healthy weight, giving us information about their eating habits at different times of the year. An average Rockhopper penguin can weigh about 5 pounds, compared to one of our average Kings weighing about 30-35 pounds!
Now that you’re a penguin expert, discover these magnificent creatures at Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin, or for a more in-depth visit, schedule time for some penguin research with a Penguins Up-Close tour. When spending quality time with our penguins you’ll come to learn and appreciate the beauty of these black and white birds.