Penguins 101July 9, 2018
Penguins are flightless birds that live in cold and warm places. There are 18 different species of penguins and scientists believe they evolved from flying birds about 65 million years ago. That means big birds living with the dinosaurs made changes to become penguins. Most movies about penguins only show them in very cold places, like Antarctica but not many different species live in the Antarctic.
Penguins usually live on islands to protect them from predators and help them easily find food because they cannot fly. They live in the water and on land but some penguins stay in the water for months at a time. There are many different size penguins and some are smaller than what you might think. Emperor penguins are very big and can be almost 4 feet tall. Penguin bodies are fusiform shaped like a football to help them swim fast. Most penguins have black and white colors. They are white on their bottom side when swimming and dark on top. This is called countershading and helps camouflage them while they are in the water. All penguins have different characteristics and look different but something they all have in common is the black and white body colors.
Penguins have different personalities and their behaviors are fun to watch. At SeaWorld San Diego, the Penguin Encounter is where you can see penguins in the water and on land. Before you enter the exhibit watch the warm weather penguins swim outside. Then when you go inside you can see the different penguins that live in the cold.
Like people, penguins inhale and exhale air. They take a big breath of air on the surface before diving under water. Some penguins can dive very deep like the emperor penguin. They eat squid and fish that swim very fast. The longest recorded dive for an emperor penguin was almost 28 minutes.
Baby penguins are called chicks and are so cute. They look fluffy but their feathers grow in very quickly. Penguin feathers help them stay dry and warm in the water. Their keep the water off their bodies so they actually are always dry.
I hope you learned something new and want to help take care of the oceans so penguins have a safe place to live and find food.