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Penguin Chicks

Our first babies of the season have hatched...

There is a high amount of excited energy in the Antarctica exhibit as keepers, penguins and Melbourne Aquarium staff alike, celebrate the arrival of 2012’s first sub-Antarctic Gentoo penguin chicks.

 

The happy nesters are fussing over their newborns, making sure it is warm and secure with each parent taking its turn to look after their precious little hatchling.   Keepers are thrilled with the new arrivals, but also cautious as the first few days in a chick’s life are critical.

 

“The nest is currently being watched around the clock. There is also a stringent veterinary program in place, with penguin keepers making sure that they are doing everything they can to help the chicks make it through this critical time,” said Bird Manager, Sarina Walsh.

 

 “The success of the 2012 breeding season is a direct result of the passion and dedication of Melbourne Aquarium staff. It is also testament to the health, welfare and comfort of the penguins within their state-of-the-art exhibit,” said Ms Walsh.

 

After the incubation period, generally lasting up to 35 days, penguin chicks start pipping through their egg, hatching anywhere from 24 to 48 hours later.

 

Once hatched, the chick has fluffy-grey plumage, with a ‘pipping tooth’, a hardened bump used to break through the egg, creating a small white tip on the end of its beak.

 

With several Gentoo penguin pairs still sitting on eggs, keepers are hopeful of the arrival of several more chicks before Christmas.

 

The Gentoo penguin breeding program joins several other successful breeding programs at Melbourne Aquarium, including the Weedy seadragon breeding program, which is the most successful in the world.

  

 

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