Penguin Facts for Kids
Penguins are aquatic and flightless birds. Unlike other birds that have wings to fly, penguins have flippers adopted for swimming. These animals get their food from under the water and take care of their young on dry land. Quite interesting is it ?
Let’s take a look at some more penguin facts that you will definitely find interesting.
1. Penguins are found only in the South
Penguins mostly live in the southern part of the earth. This means that you are likely to find penguins in such places like Antarctica, South Africa, South America, Galapagos Island, and New Zealand. In other words, no penguin lives on the North Pole.
They are therefore adapted to living in the water. One of the features that help it to survive on water is their tuxedo like appearance known as counter shading.
2. Penguins Camouflage with their environment
Penguins are masters of camouflaging in their environment due to their string coloring matter. For example, from above, the penguins black backs blend well with the murky ocean depths.
Looking at them from below the water, their white bellies are hardy visible against the bright water surfaces.
3. Penguins have wings but cannot fly
The second interesting fact about penguins is that they have wings, but not for flying.
Their wings are instead flipper- like and come in handy during swimming.
Check out this video on Penguins from Antarctica
4. Penguin Species
There are about 17 species of penguins including chinstrap, Adelie, emperor, African, erect-crested, Galapagos, Fiordland, king, Macaroni, Gento, Little Blue, Magellanic, Snare, Rockhopper, Royal and yellow-eyed penguins.
All these penguin species are found exclusively on the southern hemisphere. To be precise, they are found in the entire continent of the southern hemisphere from the tropical Galapagos Island near South America to the Antarctica areas.
5. Macaroni penguins are more than the others
The species with the highest population is called Macaroni penguin. They are estimated to be around 11,654,000 in number.
On the other hand, Galapagos penguins are the species with the lowest population. They are rated endangered species with a dwindling population of between 6000 and 15,000.
Did you know that the larger species penguins love colder climates to cool their large body mass. Conversely, the smaller penguin species prefer warmer climates to keep themselves warm.
Standing at nearly four feet tall, Emperor is tallest among the penguin species and the Little Blue the smallest at 16 inches.
6. Penguins are Carnivores
Penguins are carnivorous animals and therefore feed on meat. Their food includes squids, fish, shrimp, krill and other another animals found in oceans.
Those found closer to the equator eat a lot more fish while penguins living near Antarctica eat a lot more Krill and squid.
They usually catch their food under the water using their long strong beaks and swallow it completely without chewing. Would you do this unless you want to choke?
7. They drink salt water
Another fascinating fact about penguins is that they drink salt water. Scientists believe that penguin’s glands act like a filter that separates the water from the salts.
8. Penguin have predators
Predators of penguins include seals, leopards, orcas, Sharks, seas lions, fox, and skuas.
Penguins are also harmed by oil spills and increasing Global warming which affects their habitats.
9. Penguin stay on land and in water
The penguins spend about 75% of their time on water where they hunt their food. Since their prey are found easily within 60 feet from the water surface, penguins do not have to swim in deep water.
Some of the penguins will move to the land for breeding and molting.
10.How do penguins keep warm during cold climates
Penguins living in cold climates have an additional layer of fat known as blubber. This layer is found under their skin and helps keep them warm by preventing loss of heat.
These penguins have a fluffy layer of feathers on top of the normal layer of feathers.
During the cold climate these penguins are often seen huddling together to keep warm.
It is important to note that penguins are very social birds. Many penguin species swim, feed, and nest in groups.
11. Penguins are born inside Eggs
Penguin eggs, depending on their species, take between 30 and 66days to hatch and their eggs are laid on the seashore.
Did you know that both male and female penguins take turns to look for food and to watch over the eggs?
Apart from King and Emperor species that lay one egg each, other penguin species lay two eggs.
12. Penguin Chicks
When penguin chicks are hatched, they feed on regurgitated food from their mother’s stomach.
They are usually ready to leave their nest after one month
Penguins are amazing birds that cannot fly. They spend half of their time on water and the other half on land.
Did you learn anything new about penguins?
References and Resources
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penguin – Wikipedia page on Penguins