How do penguins smell? Are penguins nasty Do penguins stink? Do they only smell bad to humans? What are the causes of their bad smell? What are the factors that contribute to their stinky behavior?
As we know apparently penguins seem highly attractive and fluffy birds and we want to touch and hold them in our hands as soon as we see them. But let’s imagine another situation.
You visit a place where you see a very cute penguin, you just can’t wait and want to touch its fluffy and soft skin.. You go near it. But suddenly you step back, because you feel the pungent smell of its skin and poop. This actually happens when scientists and observers try to visit their nesting sites.
As we know, male penguin sits on his egg for a period of two months and a female penguin goes out to feed herself, and of course, male penguin poops at the same nesting site for two months. Can you imagine how smelly it becomes?
Do penguins stink because their poops pile up?
So one of the reasons for the penguin’s bad smell is their guano. They constantly walk here and there, move near the water to get food and their poops are also piled up near the ocean. In Antarctica, there are thousands of Adelie penguins living where they have created such a bad smell that visitors have to wear masks and want to be distant. It’s just like a huge room full of dirty diapers. All the penguin population keeps on pooping carelessly. Whole nesting sites are their bathrooms. Because they are not mannered enough to have separate bathrooms and pooping sites. It seems weird to humans but it’s a normal routine activity for the penguins to poop everywhere. Scientists tried to reduce the smell by cleaning the poops at Florida’s SeaWorld Antarctica Empire of the Penguins. It resulted in cleaning the air at the molecular level and the atmosphere got clearer.
Penguins don’t smell bad to each other.
Obviously, all the penguins are smelly, so they don’t have the ability to distinguish their smelly bodies. They mate, live, play, feed and grow together. One interesting fact is that they recognize their mates by their smell. And this odour is one of the factors in mate choice.
Penguins’ poop and stinky behavior helped in the discovery of their colony.
In Antarctica, Penguins poop helped in the discovery of the large colony of Penguins. It is estimated that they were almost 9000 Penguins. Most of them were emperor Penguins while some were Adelies. The traces of poop were very enormous as you can imagine how large a stack of poop can be of 9000 penguins. Some scientists say that they are able to see this stack from space. The researcher Alain Hubert said
“The smell wasn’t too bad because it was so cold”
So it means that in the polar climate, it is possible to have a less smelly atmosphere because of the cold. We know that smell ability enhances with an increase in temperature, so enormously cold climate at poles reduces the pungent smell of their poop. And even a slight change in the temperature increases the dirty smell.
Global warming affects the stinky behavior of penguins.
It is obvious that an increase in the temperature of the penguins leads to more smell and enhanced dirt. As we know that the overall temperature of the earth is increasing day by day and it not only affects humans but also other animals and birds. Obviously, high temperature increases the smell in the colonies of penguins. The guano smell doubles and triples and it feels like old cigarette tobacco soaked in ammonia, mixed with rotten shrimp and left in the sun for days.
This increase in global warming not only affects the stinky behavior but also poses serious threats to penguins’ life. The ice melts due to high temperature and the living conditions become unfavorable for the Adelie penguins. They need ice to survive and toboggan. They build their habitats in the icy climate. So global warming not only destroys Adelie penguins’ colonies but also enhances the guano smell. Although it’s quite normal for the penguins to have a smelly atmosphere, it seems unnatural to humans. We cannot enjoy the company of penguins in such a smelly environment.
Fish diet also contributes to stinky behavior.
As we know the main source of penguins’ diet is fish. They eat fish and during the digestion process, they release the incredibly nasty smell. All the penguins have to go to the sea and catch fish to feed their small chicks as well because small chicks are dependent on their parents for food for a period of one year. So penguins’ white portion of the body becomes so filthy that it looks brown.
Our hearts melt when we see a picture of a cute penguin, and we forget the hard reality of their stinky behavior.
These facts give us several lessons.
- Nothing is perfect in this world, even apparently everything looks so real and complete but reality is quite different.
- Humans’ nature likes cleanliness. They don’t like dirt and nast by nature.
- For penguins, it’s their nature to stink. For humans, it’s bad.
Different birds have different kinds of smelly behavior because they don’t have much sense of cleanliness. But why is it so strange in the case of penguins?
Of course, just because they apparently seem very clear, clean and innocent and we never imagine that they can be smelly and poopy even.
This is the fact of penguins’ life that is always concealed in cartoons and movies in which penguins are described as very spectacular clean birds. Their ventral portions look very white, free of dirt and poop.
In Antarctica, Orne Island, home to a large colony of chinstrap penguins, is considered to be the most dirty place of the penguins and visitors of that area share their experiences in a very bitter mood.
I read the experience of one of the visitors, he says:
“Hiking up the icy hill I could hear them long before I could see them, their high pitched chirps echoing off the rocks. It was also summer in Antarctica, so there was a fair amount of mud resulting from melting snow. Except that it wasn’t all mud. As I got closer to the hundreds of penguins, the thick, brown mud got worse and worse until I was covered in it. Sure it’s mud as we know it, but it’s also a combination of penguin food and other bodily functions. This was further accentuated by the hundreds of filthy penguins everywhere. Instead of a white chest, most were brown with the food they had been feeding to their chicks”.
Another visitor says:
“And then there was the smell. It’s impossible to describe, but I’ll never forget it mostly because it was nearly impossible to get it off of my clothes.”
Do penguins stink? Yes, they do and they also show stinky behavior. We have to accept them with this shortcoming. Of course, these poops and dirt stacks are helpful in finding their locations and nesting sites.
I hope you still adore penguins.