Monthly Archives: March 2014

Eating Habits of Penguins!

Ever wonder what penguins need to eat in order to continue waddling on this earth? No matter what type of penguin, all penguins are meat eaters. Penguins not only need to eat to survive, but they need it for continuous energy and to develop a layer of blubber which helps them survive when food is scarce.  

 

What they eat: The type of diet depends on the species of penguins, but as said before they all are meat eaters. Penguins prefer to eat krill, squids, crustaceans, and fish but when food is scarce they will eat almost anything that they can get their mouths on.

 

How they get their food: Penguins prefer to hunt during the day time for their food near the shoreline about 50-60 feet from the surface.They use their long and spiny tongue to quickly catch and swallow their food whole so they can get more food quickly. Female penguins will typically catch more than the male ones so that they can feed their young.

Mother penguin feeding young.

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How much they eat: Penguins eat on average 20 fish per an hour when they do feed. They eat in such large amounts because the food supply can become scarce at any moment. They also eat in large amounts to develop a layer of blubber which will be their energy source when they fast.

 

Fasting Periods:  Most penguins fast annually during breeding and mottling seasons. The male penguin will not leave the nesting site for the entire incubation period!(This can last anywhere from 90-120 days) Most penguins, no matter the gender, also fast during mottling seasons. (This can last up to 54 days) While fasting the blubber they have developed gives them energy.

 

The eating habits of penguins are strange, discovering that the chubby creature fasts for such a long period of time can shock some people. The penguin lover shouldn’t worry though, penguins have survived with these eating habits and will continue to do so.

 

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Evolution of Penguins!

Ever wonder how the first penguin came to waddle on this earth? The evolution of penguins is complex but sadly not much of it is known. The history of penguins isn’t well known and sort of difficult to understand. Penguin fossils are rare so with no place to start not much research on the topic can be done.

 Some facts have been discovered through reading old records and making comparisons with other birds. Though some of these facts of penguins aren’t supported by tons and tons of research, it at least gives the curious penguin lover a place to start.

When were they discovered? They were first sighted in the 16th century by European travelers exploring the Southern Hemisphere. The explorers documented them as “Strange creatures who appeared to be birds, swam like fish, and sounded like donkeys.”

How were they named? The first record of the word penguin appears in the 16th century. When European explorers first discovered the birds they noticed the similarity between them and Great Auks. The word penguin and Great Auks are synonyms of each other.

Great Auk to Penguin comparison.
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Penguin Fossils. The oldest penguin fossil known came from the now extinct penguin, Waimanu. This fossil was discovered in New Zealand and is about 62 million years old. The waimanu was a penguin not as well adapted to water as modern penguins but still lived in the sea. It was a flightless bird with short wings perfect for deep diving.

Waimanu

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Penguin Ancestry. Some scientists believe that penguins have an early sister group and most likely share common ancestors with the now extinct plotopterids, a group of flightless sea birds.

    The oldest records of penguins show them still being flightless and seagoing making it clear to scientists that they date back further than current research shows. Without the fossils to support their theories, the evolution of penguins may never fully be known.

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