Penguins sometimes behave weirdly. Penguins are very smart, especially when compared to other birds. They have high IQ levels and the ability to recognize their mates and partners. They are adorable and just amazing! Let’s discuss some of the weird secrets of penguins’ life.
- Penguins vomit on their own children for fun.
Yeah! They show great love and affection towards their children. Their huddling behavior is a great example. They provide high protection to their children. Even male penguins incubate the egg for about two months. But now I am going to discuss a very incredible way of expressing love and emotional attachment and that is penguins vomit on their own children to make them happy. Why do they vomit on their own children? Just as we humans kiss our babies, they vomit. It also shows that penguins can deliberately vomit on someone. It is their own peculiar way of expressing their particular feelings.
- Penguins pant like dogs.
Have you ever thought that penguins may resemble dogs in some way? I think no one has ever imagined it. But everything is possible. They are odd, awkward and highly unique birds and anything can be expected from them. Both penguins and dogs pant. Why do penguins pant? Of course, like dogs, penguins pant to overcome overheating issues. They also adjust their body temperature by ruffling their plumages and keeping their wings away from their bodies. They don’t have teeth but they do have spines in their tongues which increase the surface area and make it easier for penguins to pant. These spines also help the penguins in gripping their prey. Penguins really like to make themselves cool in the warm atmosphere. They sometimes also sneeze the salts out. So they can also excrete the salts through their beaks.
- They can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes.
As we know penguins are birds and even though they have adapted themselves for swimming and diving, they cannot breathe inside water. This feature shows that they are not basically sea creatures. Emperor penguins can stay inside water without breathing for up to 20 minutes. Why do they want to stay in water for a long time? Obviously, for getting food. Fish and krill are their favorite foods. They have an outstanding ability to hold their breaths inside the water and no other creature can compete with them in this regard. Emperor penguins are also known to dive up to 1,800 feet to find their prey. Another species, the Gentoo, is known to dive up to 500 feet. How is this possible? How can they hold their breaths? Scientific research reveals that they can store large quantities of oxygen in their lungs. They have specific adaptations in their blood and bodies to store oxygen and maintain air levels. A special enzyme present in the muscle tissues of penguins allows them to survive without a sufficient supply of oxygen. The penguin’s blood, specifically its hemoglobin, is adapted to circulate additional amounts of oxygen for use during swimming.
- Emperor and king penguins carry eggs in their feet.
Male penguins often show extraordinary love feelings for their children. Emperor and king penguins are very huge in size and they have big feet as compared to ordinary penguins. The basic purpose is to keep the eggs warm. The temperature of the eggs is maintained up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit when the average temperature can drop up to -30 degrees. The bulging stomach of emperor penguins provides extra protection and warmth to the eggs. This incubation period lasts for about two months. It forms a pouch-shaped covering for the eggs called a brood pouch.
- The size of the penguin has something to do with temperature.
Larger a penguin is, colder is its environment and smaller a penguin is, warmer will be its environment. What is the reason behind this? Large penguins have a very huge blanket of fluffy feathers that provide great insulation against cold and water. As we know feathers of the penguins are waterproof because of the presence of an oily layer which strictly prevents the entry of water. That’s it. Why do small penguins live in a warm atmosphere? Actually penguins have adjusted themselves in various environments. Small penguins have small bodies and they don’t have bulky feathers, so they can easily survive in warm weather conditions. Nature has maintained a balance of everything. If we ponder, we come across a lot of surprising aspects of penguins’ lives. One thing is clear, whether the penguins are large or small, they cannot fly.
- What are isabelline penguins?
Penguins are bright and colorful. Have you ever seen light-colored penguins??
One out of 50,000 penguins is born with lighter pigmentation feathers. Such penguins are called Isabelline penguins. What is the disadvantage of not having pigmentation in feathers? Such penguins are more susceptible to predators, can’t camouflage and as a result, they have short life-span. This isabelline character is not rare but found in 13 species of penguins out of 17. The species which are more easily affected by isabellinism include king penguins, yellow-eyed penguins, Gentoo penguins, and Chinstrap penguins. This disease is the type of albinism but it is not the complete albinism. Pigments on feathers also attract females, so due to lack of proper pigmentation, such penguins have reduced mating activity. Female penguins don’t feel much attraction towards these penguins and they cannot make more penguins. Their existence is not favorable and they have very short life spans as compared to other normal penguins.
- Penguins can porpoise like dolphins.
Like sea creatures, penguins show porpoising behavior. A penguin swims underwater with a velocity of almost 10-12 km per hour. It then jumps out of the water about every 30-50 m and flies half a second through the air, diving back again. They can propel up for about 7 feet. Why do the penguins porpoise? There are many reasons for it. Sometimes they see their predators and porpoise to disappear and get away from predators. They also enjoy this activity and do it for fun. Thirdly, they porpoise to take a look at their surroundings. At the aquarium, where there is no risk of predators, penguins still porpoise. It means there can be multiple reasons for this and often porpoise after their morning meal. Just as we walk to digest our meal properly, penguins porpoise to digest their meals. We can imagine the intelligence of this bird by studying that they have acquired this swimming technique although they are birds. These creatures possess flippers that are modified and greatly assist them in swimming and porpoising.
- A big reason for why are penguins black and white.
Physically, penguins have black dorsal sides and white bellies. The color of the penguin’s feathers helps them to avoid being detected by predators when they are underwater. Their color not only protects them sea-predators but also provides protection against sky predators as well. For the predators in the sky, the penguin’s black dorsal side gets mixed with the ocean’s dark bluish color. On the other hand, for the predators in deep water, the penguin’s white ventral side mixes with sky and snow. This is actually a kind of camouflage that keeps them safe when they swim. Nature has created them with all the adaptations that help them to survive. The effect made by the blending of black and white colors is called countershading. So this black-and-white plumage helps the penguins to be invisible to predators and prey alike. This is the twofold advantage for the penguins.
- Penguins swallow pebbles and stones.
Doesn’t it seem so odd? Why do they swallow stones? Are they insane? They not only swallow pebbles and stones but also food. Scientifically, there can be two reasons behind this. Firstly, it helps in grinding up and digestion of their food. Secondly, these stones add enough extra weight and penguins are able to dive deeper and float easily inside water. In other words, these stones provide extra stability to penguins. They basically pick up stones and store them in their crop. These small stones that are purposefully eaten are called “gastroliths”.
- Penguins make crèches.
The crèche (from French) in zoology refers to the care of another’s offspring, for instance in a colony.
Penguin chicks spend the first seven weeks with their parents. After seven weeks, they form groups called crèche. The penguins in crèche huddle together for protection and warmth. The young chicks live together in large numbers but are still recognized and fed by their parents. The parents make specific sounds to identify their own offspring. A creche is looked after by two or three adult penguins at a time. This resembles our schooling system. So we can imagine how much-advanced the mind the penguins possess.
So these were some facts about penguins which seemed weird, odd and awkward to me. I hope you have seen the Happy Feet Movie. That is all about penguins, how can they store eggs in their feet and their living styles are described in this movie. Penguins are among the 1500 species that exhibit same-sex coupling. There are about 17 species of penguins. So this was all about penguins. We will discuss more interesting facts about penguins in upcoming articles.