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Animals - Penguin

Penguin Facts

Kingdom:    Animalia

Phylum:    Chordata

Class:    Aves

Order:    Sphenisciformes

Family:    Spheniscidae

Scientific Name:    Aptenodytes Forsteri

Type:    Bird

Diet:    Omnivore

Size (H):    40cm - 110cm (15.7in - 43in)

Wing Span:    60cm - 130cm (23.6in - 21in)

Weight:    1kg - 35kg (2.2lbs - 75lbs)

Top Speed:    65km/h (40mph)

Life Span:    20 - 30 years

Lifestyle:    Group

Conservation Status:    Threatened

Colour:    Black, White, Grey, Yellow

Skin Type:    Feathers

Favourite Food:    Fish

Habitat:    Cold seas and rocky land

Average Clutch Size:    1

Main Prey:    Fish, Crabs, Squid

Predators:    Leopard Seals, Sharks, Killer Whale

Distinctive Features:    Short, sharp beak and slight webbed feet

The penguin is found pretty much only in the Southern Hemisphere, only a handful of penguins though are in the far south. The emperor penguin penguin inhabits the icy lands of Antarctica.

Despite what many think, the penguin is not only found in arctics, one species of penguin lives as far north as the Galapagos Islands.

Generally the penguin is around 1m tall, but one species, known as the fairy penguin, that only 40m high! The penguins stay together in large colonies with anywhere up to 50,000 penguins in the group.

The penguin spends 75% of its time in the water hunting for food. It is thought that the Antarctic penguins eat krill and squid where the penguins in warmer climates tend to eat fish.

The penguin is one of the few species of bird, that despite having wings, is unable to fly. To make up for this though, penguins have perfected their jumping technique with some penguins being able to jump a couple of meters!

Penguins seem to have no special fear of humans and penguins have often approached groups of explorers without hesitation. This is probably because there are no land predators in Antarctica or the nearby offshore islands that prey on or attack penguins. Instead, penguins are at risk at sea from predators such as the seal and sharks.

Typically, penguins do not approach humans closer than about 3 meters (10 ft) at which point the penguins tend to become nervous and retreat. This is also the distance that Antarctic tourists are told to keep from penguins (tourists are not supposed to approach closer than 3 meters, but are not expected to withdraw if the penguins come closer). It is the penguins home after all.

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