Do you know everything there is to know about penguins? We’ve bought in an expert to answer the internet’s most asked weird birds questions. Why do penguins wear tuxedos? That is an amazing question because as a bit of a bird nerd, that’s just the sort of question that I like visitors to ask.
Do Penguins Fly?
So this question is do penguins fly? That is a really common question that I hear visitors talking about outside our penguin habitat.
Penguins don’t fly. Penguins have adapted over the years to swim instead of fly. They are still birds, but they’ve lost that ability to fly in favor of diving into the ocean and catching their fish.
It’s really interesting listening to visitors debate whether or not they can fly because sometimes people get to our habitat and they think, what’s keeping the penguins here? Why don’t they fly away? But of course, they don’t fly at all. So that’s the really short, simple answer for people.
Why Do Penguins Wear Tuxedos?
The next question is why do penguins wear tuxedos? Now, I’m quite glad that they actually don’t wear real tuxedos, because that will be a lot of ironing and dry cleaning for me and I’m just not that into the laundry.
They are black and white, however, and that is really useful camouflage for them. If you can imagine a penguin swimming in the ocean if you’re looking down on them, perhaps you’re a seal looking for a meal and you’re looking down at a penguin. Its black back is blending into the ocean floor, which is quite dark.
If you’re a hungry shark looking up at a penguin, its white front is blending into the lighter waters of the surface of the ocean. So it doesn’t seem like camouflage when they’re out on land and we’re looking at them. But when they’re in the ocean, where they’re doing a lot of their swimming and looking for fish, they really are very camouflaged to the predators.
Why Do Penguins Waddle?
Penguins have become really adapted over their evolution to swim a lot and even though they do have really long legs just like you or I, they’ve got knees and ankles they’re all hidden up in their body, and different penguins will move in different ways, so I work with rockhopper penguins and they do, as the name suggests, they do a lot of hopping around the place.
So instead of a waddle, they they do lots of hops. And when they really get excited and they do a run instead of just running like you’d expect a mammal to do, they they just hop. They put both their feet together and just hop, hop, hop, hop, hop really quickly, and it’s amazing to watch.
Can Penguins Breath Underwater?
So this question is, can penguins breathe underwater? That’s a really good question, because penguins do spend a lot of their time swimming and diving. That’s how they catch fish to eat. But they don’t breathe underwater. They don’t have gills like a fish does. What they do is they’ll take a really deep breath before they dive, so they’ll hold their breath and then different species of penguin can hold their breath for different lengths of time.
It just depends on where the fish are and how deep and how far they need to chase them before they catch a meal. But they do have to come back to the surface and catch their breath every now and then.
Do Penguins Have Feathers?
So this question is do penguins have feathers? That is a really good question and one that I hear a lot of visitors debating because penguins don’t look like your average bird, but they do in fact have feathers. It’s just that because they’re adapted to swimming and cold waters, they’ll use their feathers to keep warm, So they’ll have lots of really downy feathers on the inside close to their body. They’ll keep them warm and trap lots of warm air and then on the outside, they have lots of really waterproof feathers, so that stops the water from getting into their warm insides.
Do penguins live in the North Pole?
This question is, do penguins live in the North Pole? That, for me, is a really good question because I’m a super bird nerd. There are no penguins in the northern hemisphere.
The furthest north penguin you get is right along the equator, and then you’ll get them spotted around, all the way down to the Antarctic, where they’ll live along the front of the ice sheets right next to the sea.
Do penguins mate for life?
They are monogamous. They tend to find a partner and stick with them, so long as things are going well. But out in the wild, things are a little bit harsher than we find in the zoo.
So if a penguin were to lose a partner or if they weren’t being successful with their partner, then they probably would maybe cut their losses and find a new girlfriend or boyfriend, but in general, they tend to stick with who they’ve got. What’s really interesting is a lot of penguins live in really large colonies, and when they’ve got an egg and a chick, one parent will stay to keep the egg or the chick safe and warm, while the other one goes out to sea.
They’ve got this really amazing ability of amongst thousands of other penguins they can find their partner, and a lot of that is based on sound, so they’ll call out for each other and recognize each other’s voices and zone in and bring the fish back for the chick.
I think all of these questions are really great. I mean, I’m such a bird nerd that I love answering questions about birds I love when our visitors have questions about birds.
There are definitely some questions that are unusual to me that people maybe want to know the answers for. I think sometimes you get in a little bubble and I get so used to being around penguins and getting to know about their characteristics and their personalities that I just think, well, of course, they’re birds and of course, they’ve got feathers.
Of course, they’re black and white, that all makes sense, but I just I really love when people have those questions, and even if they might think it’s a silly question, it’s always such a good thing to ask. So you can, like help everyone learn a little bit more about the natural world around us.
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