There are quite a few types of predators out there that find penguins to make the perfect meal. It is due to these predators that not all of them survive to become adults. Others are eaten after laying their eggs so they never make it back to care for their young. What predators a penguin has depends on the species. The larger it is the better chance it has of getting away from certain predators. Also, the location where they live may or may not have certain predators within the vicinity.
Most of the time the predators that are animals are a risk to the penguins in the water. They tend to be safer on land. However, the smaller species can be attacked by snakes and by lizards when they are on land. There are other land animals too that have been known to attack penguins. They include various types of birds and even ferrets. Generally they will try to get the young penguins or the adults that are sickly. They know they will be easily enough to win the battle with.
This is why you will find that healthy adult penguins aren’t really afraid on land. Depending on the species of penguin though they may stand their ground and be aggressive. Most of them will be passive though as that is their instinct by nature. They don’t really have any weapons to fight off predators and can’t always defend their young.
Skuas are very clever when it comes to stealing the eggs of penguins. Even with the parents watching over them the snatching can occur in an instant. They have been observed working as a team too. One of them will come towards a penguin that is sitting on eggs. When the penguin feels threatened it will go towards the Skuas to defend them. While this is taking place though another one goes to the nest and quickly takes the eggs. Such intelligent methods of hunting are something that experts are amazed with.
The Leopard Seal is one that loves to consume penguins. They are very fast and they blend into the water very well. They love to find the penguins in the winter months when other food sources are scarce for them. Sharks and killer whales are also primary predators for penguins when they dive into deep waters. This is also true when they whales are in their migration season because they will be much closer to the coastline. While the killer whales are looking for large marine mammals during the migration, a quick snack of penguin is too good to pass up.
As many of their other food sources become depleted more, they turn towards the penguins for food. This is why they numbers of them that fall victim continue to increase. Large aquatic life including whales and sharks consume tons of food all the time. They can eat several penguins at once and still have room for plenty more. Generally they will seek those that are alone which is another reason why penguins tend to hunt in groups.
Humans are one of the biggest risks for penguins when it comes to predators. The low numbers of many of them is due to the hunting of them for their eggs and for their oil. Even though they are now protected such hunting efforts continue under the radar. The acts of humans also threaten the penguins. These activities include using fishing nets, boats in the water, and contamination of the waters. It also includes the destruction of their natural habitat due to using the lands for other things.