Unique features of penguins
The word penguin means “totally different bird”. Penguins are unique and extraordinarily attractive birds. They are faithful and loving. They possess certain strange features which are totally unbelievable. I will tell you some amazing facts about penguins. Nature has manifested itself in this fantastic creature in a very captivating manner. Let’s see why they are so unique and fabulous.
- Emperor and king penguins carry eggs in their feet.
Amazed? Obviously, we cannot think like that. But that’s the fact. Emperor and king penguins are the penguins of huge size and they have big feet with indentations in the surfaces. They perhaps find it easier to protect their precious eggs as they don’t have any pockets. Moreover, they have heavy and bulky bodies. They do not like to put their eggs far away. They love to take care of their eggs and carry them on their feet and consider it the safest place for them.
- Penguins are monogamous.
Penguins are loyal to their partners. They usually spend most of their lives with only one mate, live as a family, make strong bonds of love with each other and like to raise their children together. You may have often heard the phrase: will you be my penguin? It actually means that just as two male and female penguins live together for the whole life, why can’t two human beings do the same? They teach us the lesson of living with intimacy, companionship, and friendliness. Emperor penguins do not strictly follow this rule and spend time serially. They have seasonal mates.
- Penguins kidnap each other’s chicks.
Not believable? I know.. but this is true. This is actually done by a female penguin. There are several reasons for that. When she feels jealous or insecure, she becomes angry and kidnaps the chicks of other penguins. Scientifically, this kidnapping behavior is due to high levels of prolactin hormone which is involved in parental behavior. If penguins lose their chick during a foraging trip, they still have high volumes of parental hormones so they kidnap chicks pf others.
- They are the fastest swimming birds and the deepest diving species.
They can swim as fast as 22 miles per hour. They can also swim underwater with a speed range of 4 to 7 miles per hour. This is a strange feature of penguins as we usually consider them birds and imagine them flying and chirping in the air. But practically this does not happen. They also dive very fastly and deeply inside the water and can live for up to 20 minutes without breathing. Interesting? But this leads to misconceptions, we start considering them amphibians but they surely are birds and have all the characters of birds. Ok, this is another discussion, let’s move to the next unique feature of these lovely creatures.
- Penguins dance for their loved ones.
When penguins find that their partner is angry or offended, they try to make him happy. They dance and move rhythmically for their loved ones, try to spend quality time and joyful moments and love to hang out with their partners. This doesn’t happen only in cartoons or poems but this is the fact of penguin’s live life. Stones and pebbles are the precious and heartfelt gifts that penguins exchange to show true love to each other. This is the sign that two penguins want to marry. Yes, they decide to become future mommy and daddy of their children. Humans give chocolates or roses to express love and emotions but penguins have stones and sticks. They put those stones in their new homes (nests) and sticks are used to support and embellish the nest. A lover always tries to present something very extraordinary to his beloved and this also happens with penguins. A lover penguin collects a lot of pebbles and chooses the best one for giving to his partner. This is actually the sign of true intimacy and spiritual bonding. These birds have soft hearts and they are loyal to their partners. Male penguins dislike their wives if they have more interaction with other males. They all share the same purpose of their relationship and that is making more penguins. Nature doesn’t want its extinction. These stones and sticks are the objects of nature that are used uniquely by penguins and sometimes they fight for choosing the best ones.
- Penguins have waterproof feathers.
Unlike other birds, they have highly insulating and protective feathers. Their feathers are waterproof and don’t allow any kind of water entrance. This actually happens due to waterproof coating of specific oil which is produced naturally by their bodies and it prevents the entry of any kind of liquid. This oil is produced by the gland called the preen gland. But have you ever noticed that penguin chicks stay away from water? There is a reason. I hope you can guess.. penguin chicks don’t have waterproof feathers. So penguin feathers perform a twofold function. They provide excellent insulation against the air as well as water. This oily coating is actually on the outer portion of their wings and the inner portion has some trapped air which keeps them warm. Water slides off their bodies even before freezing so they do not accumulate any ice over their bodies and this adaptation makes them suitable for colder regions as well. Ice repelling feature is highly useful for Humboldt penguins who live in deep-frozen areas and still remain warm and ice-free. I personally think that this water-repelling feature of penguins is very distinct and is specifically related to penguins. Scientifically, they have a complex microstructure of their feathers which is exceptionally shielding and safeguarding.
- They love eating ice rather than drinking water.
Although penguins do drink water, they have a strange habit… They love to eat pieces of ice penguins have two sources of quenching their thirst. They eat snow or drink seawater. In most cases, seawater is abundantly available to penguins so they are compelled to drink it willingly. But no one knows what happens inside their hearts. They want to eat and swallow small pieces of ice and this is the latest research about penguins’ desires. They can also drink fresh water but as I have told you that it all depends on availability. They have to compromise on whatever is available. There are supraorbital glands inside penguins which filter salt from the blood.
- Penguins have knees
Can you imagine a bird with knees? Penguins have knees and this is their feature which relates to mammals. A penguin leg has short femur, tibia, knee, and fibula. Their gait is analogous to humans and locomotives by lifting one step after the other. Apparently, they look as if they don’t have knees because of heavy feathers that cover their legs. They make very little use of their knees and prefer to walk erectly. They walk as if an old man is walking and they resemble closely to human beings. X-ray scans of the lower portion of the penguin’s body reveal that they have tiny knees. But they prefer to waddle because of heavyweight.
- Penguins do not fear humans.
The actual reality is that penguins do not fear humans. They keep on observing human beings…perhaps they note the similarities between both. Some penguins may seem to fear human beings but this happens due to the harsh activities of humans like if they hurt or hunt them. They are curious about humans, come close to them and inspect them. They seem as if they are thinking and pondering about us. But when you do a certain movement, they immediately go back to their friends who stand at some distance and expecting some uncommon thing to happen. So the brave penguin marches towards his companions and watches them as if he has done a very big achievement. All his friends look at him in a very curious way and want to know about humans. This shows the deep emotional interaction of these creatures with humans and nature has designed these dynamic living beings to entertain us and to ponder. Life is short and it should be led in a very simple way. This is what these elderly, simple, slow creatures indirectly teach us.
Now I am going to conclude my article with some personal reflections. I have searched deeply about these small beings. They are mind-blowing and awesome. They have a lot of strange characteristics like homosexuality. Homosexual penguins have considered very sinful among them and other penguins dislike and hate them. This seems quite surprising and amazing. Now there is a lot to find about these creatures and still, more scientific work is needed. Now I am going to end up and come back with more captivating facts and figures about penguins.