Where do penguins live? How do they build their homes? Do penguins live in cold regions? Can they build igloos?
What are igloos?
A common definition of the igloo is given below.
An igloo is a type of hut built from snow, mainly by Inuits. … Some igloos are built for temporary shelter, while others are permanent, warm housing in very cold climates.
Igloos gradually become shorter with time due to the compressive creep of the snow.
Penguins build their homes in different regions depending on their types. Some penguins live in extremely cold weather conditions and choose to live in Antarctica. Antarctica is a very cold place where the temperature always remains below freezing point. All other penguins live in the southern hemisphere. This means that they all live south of the equator, an imaginary line that divides the globe by half into a northern and southern part, or hemisphere. So penguins live from the southern part of the equator all the way up to the Antarctic continent. It is assumed that penguins only stay in snow-covered places and cold regions, but you would be surprised to learn that they can thrive in areas very close to the equator, where ice and snow are absent.
- How and why do penguins live in cold climates?
Now we will discuss how it is possible for such fragile, fluffy birds to live in such harsh and cold weather conditions. Moreover, can these little birds build igloos which are, of course, very large as compared to their sizes? Have you thought that penguins don’t have any kind of saws, knives or hands, then how can they be able to make igloos? But firstly, I will tell you why do the penguins live in a very cold climate? Because they find abundant food and prey there. The presence of currents in the Antarctic ocean plays a very crucial role in the wide distribution of penguins. How? Because these currents carry large amounts of seafood for the penguins which includes plankton and other foods. Now here is the long chain. Ocean currents carry nutrients which include minerals like phosphates, silicates and some other substances. These substances are taken up by crustaceans. It additionally includes plankton, and where there is plankton, there may be squid and krill. As we know penguins are predators of squid and krill. So in this way, we can justify the presence of penguins in an Antarctic ocean. In the Antarctic Convergence, the icy waters of the sea current beneath the marginally warmer sub-Antarctic waters is a vicinity full of food that gives the Penguins an advantage as well.
- Can penguins build igloos?
The answer is NO. As we have discussed earlier, they don’t have physical and mental strength to build such a heavy dome-shaped structure. Even if they are intellectually capable, still their fragile and soft structures are not able to do such a great construction.
- Why don’t penguins need igloos?
Penguins don’t need to live in igloos. Nature has already pampered them a lot. They can live in different regions depending on their types and species. We don’t have to worry and make igloos for them. Of course, they will never say “thanks” because they don’t want igloos as their homes. . This is due to some reasons.
- Although they have to keep high body temperatures in order to remain active in cold climates, they don’t protect themselves by making igloos. They have very thick skin and lots of fat (blubber) under their skin to keep warm in cold weather. The skin provides a high shielding effect and they remain covered in their skin-blankets.
- They also huddle together with their friends to keep them warm. Huddling is the key factor for penguins to protect themselves from the cold. Gilbert and her colleagues found that the birds spend 90% of their time either packed deep inside the huddle or shuffling around the edge, at relatively balmy temperatures above –10°C. These birds can also lower their body temperature and reduce metabolic rate, so this also adds up in energy saving. Emperor penguins are called Nature’s Greatest Survivors. When the temperature reaches below -20°C, they still can endure the glacial and frigid cold of Antarctic winter. How is this possible? Can we expect the little creatures to withstand such fierce weather conditions? The emperor penguins are large in size as compared to other species, so they tightly pack themselves in the form of groups. In this way, they conserve heat and shelter themselves from the intense words. Penguins don’t freeze due to huddling. A study shows that average temperature rises up to 70°F as a result of huddling.
- Penguins have special adaptation in their feet which prevents their feet from freezing and sticking to the ice. Their feet also have insulation which provides warmth when they walk on ice.
- Profuse, overlapping and densely packed feathers also provide warmth. It is also said that penguins not only have thick feathers but also possess their different kinds. This variety in the composition of feathers also provides insulation and protection against cold.
- Penguins also have an oily layer on their skin. It helps keep the cold ocean water from reaching their skin. Penguins have a layer of fat under their skin called “blubber”.
Now it is clearly understood from the above discussion that penguins don’t need to build igloos. Nature has provided all the facilities which are necessary to survive in cold weather.
- Who makes igloos?
Penguins do not make igloos. They don’t even know how to live in them. Human beings actually make igloos. They cut the compacted snow in the form of bricks and then pile up these bricks in a particular way to create an igloo. Traditionally, the people who initiated the making of igloos are the Inuit who live in far Greenland and North America.
Sometimes, penguins find an igloo and start observing it. They play there but don’t sleep in igloos.
Why do people associate igloos with penguins? I think it’s a misconception. There can be many reasons for it. Igloos have nothing to do with penguins. They don’t play any considerable role in the lives of these tiny creatures. Igloos are totally the invention of human beings and these marine birds don’t have such developed brains. Their brains are small and capabilities are limited.
- We wish penguins should live in igloos.
One reason for this misconception is that we want to see these velvety, snowy, fluffy and soft birds to live in these igloos. We actually think of a need for properly built houses for them. When we fail to find such houses, we assume that igloos are their houses. Penguins and igloos are similar in their white beauty. In cartoons, we observe the strange and cute contrast of igloos and penguins. Igloos are basically the creation of human beings and they have nothing to do with penguins. Simply, it’s our imagination which takes us to the point where we think igloos as the homes of penguins. As we know, penguins spend most of their lives in the ocean in search of seafood. They do have nesting sites but that is not igloos. They don’t need them.
- Do you want to see penguins living in igloos?
Yes. I know you will say yes. We can imagine a penguin couple living in an igloo with a few little chicks playing hide and seek. Just imagine a white land full of snow, with white igloo, a silence… and then suddenly a penguin comes out of an igloo with his family and starts calling his friends to wake up. Soon a lot of penguins gather and then children are sent to creches where they learn new things while adult penguins go to find their seafood. Female penguins say goodbye to their partners and make themselves busy in maintaining and decorating their white homes.
So this was all about penguins and igloos. I love to watch penguin cartoons and now my interest has increased. During my research, I found out that penguins not only love deeply to their partners but also they quarrel at times. This most commonly happens between childless couples. When the couple has no chick, it becomes depressed, nervous and anxious. So the penguins try to kidnap the chicks of other penguins and if they fail, they limit themselves in their homes and their social activities nearly stop. I am going to mention some eye-catchy quotes about penguins. I hope you will enjoy it.
- Jasper Fforde has said about penguins.
For a taste that’s a bit more distinct,
eat a bird before it’s extinct.
- Donald Finkel says
I have taken the liberty of quoting at length throughout the gospels of the Emperor penguins. To them, I owe a special debt of gratitude for their remarkable patience.
- Joe Moore says
It’s practically impossible to look at penguins and feel angry.
- Alison Gopnik says
Our babies are like penguins, penguin babies can’t exist unless more than one person is taking care of them. They just can’t keep going.