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03 Jul 2018 16:26:00
Have you ever met anyone who said they don’t like penguins? We sure haven’t! In fact, they're one of the most loved creatures at SEA LIFE Melbourne. So, since they're so adored, we thought we'd put together our 5 fun facts about penguins.
While penguins can’t fly now, it is widely believe that they once could! Along their evolutionary journey, their bodies became more adapted to water and they started to become expert swimmers. Getting off the ground and flying must have just become too much effort! So, they traded in their ability to fly to become the fastest swimming and deepest-diving species of any bird.
Emperor Penguins are on the forefront of modern parenting roles! In most animal species, it is the female that stays in the nest to look after their offspring while the father goes out to fetch food. However, with Emperor penguins, it is the male who incubates the egg while the female goes out for food and, even more amazingly, it is the male penguin who produces a milky substance from their stomach and feeds the chick - WOW!
There are 17 different species of penguins and all of them can be found in the Southern Hemisphere. The biggest of them all is the Emperor Penguin, who stands up to 1.3 metres tall (the height of an average 8 year old child) and can weigh up to 41 kilograms.
Unlike most birds who molt a few feathers at a time replacing their coat gradually over the course of the year, penguins lose all of their feathers in one go. It's called a catastrophic molt, which is a very good description given they can look like an exploding pillow. During this time, they cannot enter the water as it’s too cold without their full coat of feathers. No swimming to catch fish means no eating, so they have to store up enough fat to see them through this fasting period. They may not eat for a few weeks!
If you would love to have the opportunity to get close to these amazing creatures, grab yourself a Penguin Passport - this is your ticket to hang out on the ice with some of SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium's very own penguin colony, including the majestic King and cheeky Gentoo penguins.
You’ll be suited up in Antarctic snow gear to keep you warm in the sub-zero temperatures, and you’ll spend 45 minutes touring their home, including the behind-the-scenes meal prep and veterinary areas.