Yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. Every January 20th, Penguins turn to each other and say, “I feel very aware.” World Penguin Day is April 25th, when penguins (patron saint Bond, James Bond) turn to each other and say “It may be April, but my toes are still cold.”
Penguins (patron saint Fred Astaire) are 12 kinds of adorable. Special thanks to the Newport Aquarium for sharing the photos of all their adorableness.
Here are a whole bunch of things you absolutely positively need to know about penguins (patron saint groom cake toppers).
Even though they can’t breathe underwater and most don’t carry an air tank, penguins are speedy little dudes in the sea. All but the laziest of penguins can swim 5-6 miles an hour with bursts up to 15 mph (when there is a particularly delicious looking fish to get or when teenage penguins are trying to show off). Gentoo Penguins zip along at up to 22 mph. This is faster than you can swim.
Part of the reason they swim so quickly is that they bought the same type of swim suit the Olympians wear. Which is to say when they fluff their feathers, bubbles are released that “reduce the density of the water around them… and act as lubrication that decreases water viscosity.” Who knew you could decrease the density of water?
For a special treat, click here–>It’s a Penguin Party! (A La Fiesta de Pingüinos)
Small penguins don’t dive as deep as larger penguins. The big dudes (like Emperor Penguins) can dive 1,870 feet deep for up to 22 minutes. They do not do this in the aquarium since the floor gets in the way.
Did you know that penguins swallow pebbles and stones as well as their food? It’s probably to help grind up their food (like an internal garbage disposal) although some scientists think the stones are more of a weight belt to help the penguins dive deeper.
On land, penguins waddle between 1.7 and 2.4 mph. Now you know why they live places where land predators do not. And (I kid you not) a group of penguins on land is called a “waddle.”
Many penguins mate with the same penguin year after year. Many penguins also cheat on their mate (I am not making this up).
In most penguin species, the male incubates the eggs while the female trots off to hunt and have a lovely GNO. Because the males stay behind for up to weeks at a time, pudgy males are most desirable. Some penguins lose up to 20 or more pounds while they eggsit. This is known as the penguin diet and will soon be the rage in California.
Speaking of penguin diets, you might be wondering about the amount of sea water penguins drink. Not to worry, my friend. Penguins have a special gland (behind their eyes which seems to be as good a place as any to store a gland) which filters saltwater out of their blood stream. Penguins then excrete it by sneezing. I am dying to see a penguin sneeze.
Penguins go through a catastrophic molt, which is when they lose all their feathers at once and spend 2 to 3 week land-bound while they grow new ones. This is sort of the penguin equivalent of What Not To Wear.
A penguin’s normal body temperature is approximately 100° F (38° C). To keep from overheating, penguins pant like dogs to cool off. They also ruffle their feathers and hold their wings away from their bodies. Better yet, penguins can control the blood flow to their extremities enough to reduce the amount of blood that gets cold, but not enough so that their extremities freeze. How cool is that?
Best Penguin Fact of the Day:
Some of the prehistoric penguins were enormous—about full-grown person sized. IMHO, this might have diminished their adorableness factor.
Isn’t it amazing what you can learn by celebrating a holiday about penguins (patron saint Prom King)?