Amazing facts about penguins
What’s not to love about penguins? Surely one of the most endearing species on the planet, these flightless birds are always fascinating – and more interesting than you might think. Here are some amazing facts about penguins that just might see you running to the nearest zoo!
- Most penguins live in the southern hemisphere but there is one species which lives north of the equator – the Galapagos penguin.
- Penguins are able to drink seawater – a gland above their eye removes salt from their bloodstream.
- Emperor penguins can grow to 4 feet tall!
- Emperor penguins can remain underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time.
- The Gentoo penguin is the Usain Boldt of the penguin world and can swim at over 20mph.
- The deepest penguin dive ever recorded was an impressive 1,850 feet.
- The penguins unique colouring provides camouflage whilst they are swimming.
- Fossils have revealed that there were once penguins on earth which were almost 6 feet tall.
- Penguins don’t have teeth but they do have fleshy spines in their beaks.
- Penguins moult all of their feathers every year. The process takes three weeks and the birds can’t swim until it is complete.
- Gentoo, rockhopper, and chinstrap penguins are monogamous for life.
- Chubby males are attractive to female emperor penguins as their bulk enables them to survive longer when they are incubating eggs.
- A group of penguins on land is called a rookery whilst a group of penguins in the water is called a raft.
- Penguins have no predators on land which explains why they are generally friendly to humans.
- The smallest species of penguin is the little blue which is just 16 inches tall.
- Scientists are unsure exactly how many species of penguin there are.
- Penguins jump in the air before diving into water as this releases air from their feathers and so helps them to swim more quickly.
- Penguins locate their mates in rookeries via unique calls.
- Penguin rookeries can feature hundreds of thousands of birds.
- Penguins have dense skeletons to enable them to sink in the water.
- When penguins huddle together to keep warm, the birds in the middle can get too hot.
- Penguins can move quicker on land if they slide on their bellies rather than walk.
- Fossils have revealed that penguins existed at the time of the dinosaurs and so they survived the extinction of the giant creatures.
- If a female emperor penguin loses her chick she will often kidnap another bird’s offspring.
- Penguins have no visible ears but benefit from excellent hearing.
- Penguins are able to keep warm because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to their skin.
- The French explorer Beaulieu believed penguins to be a type of feathered fish when he saw them in 1620.
Have we left anything out? If you are a penguin expert and know more, let us know!