Introduction to Penguins
The first documented information about penguins date back to the late 1490’s, when they were observed by Portuguese explorers travelling along the southern coasts of Africa.
The word “Pinguis” means “fat” in Latin if you are curious how these creatures got that name. Many agree that the name is quite unique for such an unusual type of bird.
It is believed the first penguins were living in Peru more than 55 million years ago, although they were not fully adapted to aquatic life.
Penguins are well known for their tuxedo style of look – with the black and white, which gives them a unique appearance. They are a type of bird even though none of the species are able to fly. It is believed they are descendants of very early types of birds.
Scientists believe that they had to adapt to living in the water rather than just on land in order to survive. As a result what was once feathers and wings for them to fly became flappers for them to swim with but they lost the ability to fly.
There are some penguins out there that are all white, but they are very rare. They don’t have the camouflage that others do though so they end up being more accessible to predators. They were also hunted often by people but such practice it is illegal to do now. Many people believe that a white penguin is albino but it is actually a type of penguin with a unusual mutation. While the reproduction process for penguins is one that seems complicated, they do it without expressing any real stress involved with it. Sadly, it is estimated that more than half of all the eggs laid result in offspring that will die before it reaches two years of age. Many of them die before ever being removed from the egg due to predators. A lack off food and harsh environments can also take their toll on these young penguins. The predators for penguins will depend on where they happen to be located. Some of the common ones include leopard seals, snakes, foxes, sea lions, sharks, and even killer whales. They also suffer at the hands of humans because they have been known to be hunted. They also get caught up in the large fishing nets out there in the waters while attempting to hunt for their own food.Penguins don’t get bothered by the cold as we would think they do because of the layers of fat on their bodies.
However, some penguin species that do not live in the colder regions, get too hot and that is a concern for them. Due to global warming it has become even more of a concern out there. They often extend their flippers to help stay cool. They also spend more time in the water when the heat is too hot for them on land. There are many different types of penguins found around the world. Some of them are near extinction while others are considered to be very vulnerable at this point in time. A few of them seem to be thriving as they are able to continually adapt to their environment as they need to. When we allow the destruction of their natural environment we prevent them from being able to successfully live like they should. This includes polluting the waters in which they swim and hunt for food. When chemicals, oil, and even trash find their way into the waters penguins often die from it. On average the life span for a penguin is about 15-20 years. Some of the smaller species have a life span of only half that. There are a few of the larger species that have been known to live several more decades than that. All types of penguins seem to do very well in captivity, and that certainly does increase their life span.
Types of Penguins
Little Blue Penguin
The information provided about penguins in this site, includes an explanation of the Penguin Anatomy, followed by details about the Penguin Reproduction and what do penguins eat?. Penguin communication is basic for its survival in one of the most extremes habitats in the planet. For this, a social structure is also important. Penguin distribution will show how penguins are located around the globe and how they have evolved besides the main predators that have endangered them.
Humans & Penguins
Penguins have been part of human history for a few centuries now, which have inspired great books and films. However the relationship between humans and penguins has a not so pleasant side, which includes ruthless hunting for centuries. Lately humans have invested in penguin conservation and research as well as popular education through the knowledge provided by penguins in captivity.
Frequently Asked Questions about Penguins
You can find penguins in every continent, however all known species of penguins live in the southern hemisphere.
There are 7 of the 17 species of penguins that regularly breed in South America.
The diet of the King penguins rely mainly in fish and squid and include a small amount of krill and other crustaceans.
It is believed that evolution due to the lack of land predators made penguins change their wings for flippers.
Baby penguins born completely covered with gray plumage.
Penguins vocalizations are identifiable by each individual which allow parents to recognize each other and also their chick.
The life expectancy of emperor penguins reach up to 20 years.
Penguins have a hearing sense, which although is not as developed as in other marine animals.
The Royal Penguins feed mainly on krill and other prey like small fish, squid, and small crustaceans.
The main threats for penguins in water are leopard seals, fur seals, sea lions, sharks and killer whales.
There are 20 recognized species of penguins living, being some subspecies still on debate.
A group of penguins in called a Colony, a rookery or a Waddle…
The size and weight of a penguin at born varies from species to species
Emperor penguins breeds in the coldest environment of any bird species, where temperature reach as low as -40 C.
Baby penguins are called chicks.
Penguins are birds. Penguins have adapted to live in water.
Galapagos penguins can live up to 15 years.
In general penguin lifespan ranges from 15 to 20 years.
Cartoon penguins can be drawn in the following way…
NO, penguins live only in the southern hemisphere and south of the Equator
Penguins are mostly monogamous, however there are some species like the Emperor Penguin which is serially monogamous.
- Adelie Penguin
- Chinstrap Penguin
- Gentoo Penguin
- Yellow-eyed Penguin