Wild Animals

Emperor Penguin

posted: 04/29/14
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Gentoo Mulitmedia/Veer

Allow me to introduce Myself: You may remember me from the movies "Happy Feet" or "March of the Penguins." I'm Antarctica's famous Emperor Penguin.

Where You'll Most Likely Find Me: I live around the shores of Antarctica in the Southern Hemisphere, ideally where ice cliffs and icebergs can help shelter everyone from the extremely cold wind.

What I Like to Eat: Squid, fish, krill and other small invertebrates. We catch and eat these delicacies whole underwater.

Betcha Didn't Know: We are the best of the avian divers. One emperor penguin was recorded by humans as diving 870 feet.

Solid Ground: We have wings, but we don't fly. Even though we evolved from flying birds, our wings serve as flippers and have made us the top swimmers we are today.

Water: We have to live near water since that's where our food supply is. We spend almost three-quarters of our lives in the ocean and really only need to come ashore when we are breeding or once a year when we are molting - a process which involves shedding old feathers, hair or skin.

Baby It's Cold Outside: We can survive in temperatures that are as high as 40 degrees Celsius and dip as low as -60 degrees Celsius. We live on sheets of ice, beaches and small islands. What keeps us warm? Our overlapping feathers are insulated and trap warm air.

Skinny-Minny: Once a year, we come to shore for the molting process. Our feathers all slough off at the same time. It's like fasting for us because we can't go into the water due to the fact that we temporarily don't have our protective insulation. The molting process can last anywhere from three to six weeks, so it's not uncommon for us to lose up to one third of our body weight during this time.

Incubation: The female penguins lay the eggs, but the male penguins keep them warm and safe on top of their feet covered by abdominal skin. The men huddle by the hundreds in the snow guarding their individual eggs and keeping each other warm on the cold ice for approximately 67 days.

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