Most people don’t know all the facts about penguins. So why not learn some fact about these amazing and unusual creatures in nature. These are 24 cool facts about penguins, funny penguin facts, and hopefully unforgettable things you never knew about penguins.
Cool Penguin Facts
Often thought of as mammals, the majestic penguin is in reality a flightless bird. An avian that spends half its lifetime under the water and the rest on land roaming about.
Science believes there are 17 species of penguins today. These species include the Aptendytes (or Great Penguins), the Edyptes (or Crested Penguins), the Edyptula (Little Penguins), the Pygoscells (Brush-Tailed Penguins) and the Megadyptes of which only one kind survives in modern times.
The word origin of “penguin” is unknown. There is no English, French, Spanish, or other language with a root form of the word. It isn’t until explorers from Europe discovered penguins in the South that the world first becomes used. The first references are in English and Dutch languages, as “pen gwyn” which is actually a Welsh phrase meaning :white head”.
Through natural evolution, the penguin had wings, but these evolved into flippers as an adaptation to their beloved aquatic lifestyle.
Penguins are interesting creatures, but despite the popularized myth, no penguins can be found living anywhere in the North Pole regions.
While their presence is non-existent in the Northern Hemisphere, penguins share a stunning resemblance to a bird called the Great Auk. This avian went extinct during the 19th century and did live in the North Pole regions.
Penguins look a lot like birds flying in formation, when seen swimming together underwater.
Penguins are naturally camouflaged against would be predators. The white fronts of penguins disguise it from predators coming below them, and their black backsides disguise them from predators looming above them.
Penguins gather and live in colonies. The larger species like the King and Emperor penguins can have colonies in the thousands of birds, while their smaller compatriots number more often in the hundreds living together.
Penguins act within a community, offering support to others in their groups. When temperatures drop drastically, they can be seen huddling in groups together for body warmth. In fact, one penguin will stand centrally, while others come forming a crowd around it. Once the central penguin gets warm enough, it exits and allows another one to take its place.
Penguins can move fairly fast, their speeds clock at 6-12 km per hour, or 3.7 -7.5 mph while under the water. The fastest known penguin is the Gentoo Penguin, which can achieve a top speed of 36 km per hour, or 22 mph.
Emperor penguins can dive to depths of 565 meters or 1,870 feet into the ocean. They can stay underwater as long as 22 minutes, which is a long time for any diving bird. Most penguins only submerge for 4-5 minutes before coming up for air, since most of their food can be hunted for at very low depths.
When on land, penguins use their tails for balance while engaging in their typical upright waddling gait. They also move by hopping on both feet, often when on rocky parts on land. Some even toboggan, sliding across slopes of ice on their belly to save energy moving about.
On land penguins have no natural predators, but at sea orca whales and count leopard walruses are dangerous predators for them.
Penguins eat all kinds of fish, krill, and other available small undersea life forms for food.
Penguins drink salt water. They can do this because of a special gland within their digestive systems that filters excessive salt from their blood stream. This allows them to survive without the need for fresh water of any sort.
Popular belief says penguins only live in cold and frozen climates, but this is not true. Some penguins live as far into the upper Southern hemisphere as the Galapagos Island chain.
Penguins are not afraid of human beings. This is assumed true, because they lack any natural land predators. So we are just another friendly biped on the land we share with them.
Emperor Penguins are the most recognized penguin typically. Their large size, orange glows around their neckline and standing upright nearly 4 feet make them distinctive. Emperor penguins can weight up to 90 lbs. in the wild. In contrast the Blue Penguin is the smallest species, being only 16-17 inches in height and weighing just 2 pounds full grown.
Galapagos penguins are the only colony living at the equator. The sustain their needs because of the Humboldt Current bringing cold waters from the Antarctic region. This lets them hunt for their chosen fish and aquatic species while maintaining a cool temperature, as penguins are adapted for in nature.
Chinstrap penguins have the largest population, their total numbers reaching approximately 13 million penguins strong. These heavy breeders live on the icebergs off the Antarctic coast.
Penguins have many mating rituals, some mating for a lifetime and other of the same species mating for just a single season. Also if a penguin couples lays eggs and loses one of them, they may try stealing a replacement egg from another penguin couple. Although this rarely works, because penguin parents tend to keep close proximity to their eggs. Except the ones they lose, one has to assume?
Unlike most other animals, penguins living in captivity will act out homosexual partnerships together. This is odd, because it limits the chance of breeding in captivity. Although penguins in the wild, do not exhibit these same reversed sexual behavior patterns.
Penguins are currently a highly at risk species, because the changing climate conditions of the Antarctic with the advent of global warming. Their natural habitats are becoming warmer, if this trend continues it will put all penguins in danger of possible extinction.
I hope you enjoyed reading my cool facts about penguins 🙂