How about we get all dressed up in our very best tuxedos to go visit some wonderful animals?
Why would we dress in a tuxedo to go animal watching? Because we want to blend in, so they may not notice us.
Yes, we are going to learn a little bit about penguins. I bet that you may have seen some penguin decorations around Christmas time. Maybe you have been to a zoo and they had some of these awesome birds swimming and sliding around. You may even have a stuffed plush penguin as a favorite snuggle toy. I think that no matter where or when you see a penguin, they make you smile.
Now that you have put on your tux (if you don’t have a real tuxedo, we can pretend) we need to be very quiet and see if we can blend in. Oh, don’t forget that penguins waddle.
Maybe we better practice our waddle. Stand up straight, arms down to our sides and waddle. Oops, I forget that we can’t bend our knees; we have to keep our legs straight and kind of rock side to side as we take baby steps forward. Just don’t try to go to fast or we might all end up in a big penguin pile on the ground.
I think we are now ready to find out about some very cool penguins.
Penguins are some of the most loved arctic animals ever. These adorably amphibious animals have been the stars in children stories, movies, cartoons, and even computer games. Penguins are flightless birds. These animals with their waddling walk as well as their tuxedo like plumage (feathers) have been portrayed a lot in some of the most popular Hollywood movies which made these flightless birds even more popular. I bet you have even seen some of the silliness penguins get by with in movies.
More often than not, these birds have a very limited territory since some species can only survive in extremely cold environments such as in Antarctica and the nearby colder region although there are other species that can be found in the coastal area of South Africa, a small portion of New Zealand, and some parts in Australia.
Among the wide species of penguins, the Emperor Penguin is the biggest and when they are adults they can be up to forty eight inches, which is 4 feet tall. On the other end of the size-o-meter, the smallest specie is the Rockhopper Penguin which can only reach an average height of twelve inches when fully mature. So the Emperor Penguin may be taller than you are and the Rockhopper is only 1 foot tall, which is how long the ruler you use for school is.
Typically, penguins hunt and feed in the water and since most of the water surfaces of the Antartic region are frozen solid, most of them have to dive underwater in search of krill, small squid, and other smaller fishes. Penguins are great swimmers because of their submarine like bodies and they can also hold their breath for 2-3 minutes before coming up for air. Most penguins can swim at about 5 miles per hour but, if they are trying to get away from danger they can swim a short distance at 5 times that fast. Emperor Penguins are the fastest swimmers and they can go about 9 miles per hour. Emperor Penguins can also hold their breath for 20 minutes or maybe more.
I know that they are fast swimmers and can hold their breath longer than I can so; I’m not going to get in the water to even try to keep up with them.
Now we know that they cannot fly in the air but they sure can swim in the water.
Penguins especially the emperor has its unique breeding phase and they can only breed once a year as compared to other sea creatures. This specie also has its own breeding ground called the rookeries and they are not able to breed on other places except for this established breeding ground. Every year, thousands of penguins travel up to seventy-five miles in order to reach their rookery where they can lay their one egg and wait for it to hatch. Once the female penguin has laid its egg, the male penguin will have to incubate it for at least nine weeks without eating anything while the female goes back to sea to hunt and eat. The male does not sit on the egg as many other birds do to keep an egg warm. The male will balance the egg on his feet and cover the top of the egg with their “feathered belly skin”. The female will come back in about 2 months, after she has had her fill of food. This is when the male finally gets to leave and go hunt food. By now the baby chick has hatched and the female will regurgitate food for the chick. Before long summer comes to the Artic area and when the ice starts to melt it is time for the baby chicks to make their way to the water and learn how to swim and find food on their own.
Wow, penguins are amazing. I sure am glad you came along to learn about them. Everything is funner when you have a friend to do it with. I know that funner is not a word but, it is just so much more fun to say.
Ok, I am going to get myself a stuffed penguin or a penguin puppet and teach them how to be a real penguin. Do you think I can teach them how to swim in the bath tub? 😉
Until next time…stay fuzzy wuzzy and cool!