Penguins are one of the most adorable animals and we’re not surprised that they get their own day of recognition. That’s right, it’s World Penguin Day! Here are 9 facts & secrets you may not have known about everybody’s favourite flightless bird
- There are 17 species of penguins. 13 of these are threatened or endangered species, with some on the brink of extinction. Climate change is threatening penguin species even more with each passing year. Check our blog post on how climate change has been affecting Antarctic penguins.
- The secret behind a penguin’s distinctive colouring? Camouflage. This type of colouring called counter-shading provides protection from two angles. To a predator who might be lurking above, the penguin’s black back blends right into the ocean. Meanwhile, predators who might be swimming around below look up and see the penguin’s white belly, which looks just like the bright light from above and the snow around them. Invisible!
- Penguins don’t have blubber, so instead, they survive the super cold temperatures by trapping a layer of warm air beside their skin. This air serves as a built-in insulation blanket, especially when they’re swimming in the Antarctic waters.
- Even though penguins are carnivores who hunt and kill for food, penguins don’t have teeth. The inside of their beaks and their tongues are lined with dangerous spikes, so they use their beaks to grab and devour their prey.
- Penguins also don’t have ears. Well not that we can see. Don’t worry though, penguins have excellent hearing, and each penguin has a unique call that they use to identify their mates from the crowd.
- Penguins come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Little Blue Penguin, which stands at a mere 16 inches to Emperor Penguins, which can grow up to almost 4 feet tall.
- Female penguins can be especially vicious; if an Emperor Penguin’s baby dies, she’ll just hop on over to another nest and kidnap another penguin’s chick. Cold.
- For some species of penguins, the females go out to hunt for weeks on end, leaving the male penguins at home to incubate the egg. But because of this, the females definitely prefer the chubbier guys. When picking a mate, she’s desiring a guy with enough fat stored to survive for weeks without eating.
- The rumour is true! Most species of penguins are monogamous, and will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season. Even though penguins are super cuddly and cute, don’t be fooled. Male penguins often hold bloody fights over mating rights, plus do you remember this viral video of the Husband vs Homewrekcer – Penguin Fight from last year?