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Today is Penguin Awareness Day

Penguin facts - 9 fascinating things you might not know - Greenpeace UK

Penguins porpoising in the Antarctic Ocean. Although they’re hilariously clumsy on land, penguins are amazing swimmers. In the water, Chinstrap penguins can reach speeds of 20mph – four times faster than the best human athletes. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Penguins porpoising in the Antarctic Ocean. Although they’re hilariously clumsy on land, penguins are amazing swimmers. In the water, Chinstrap penguins can reach speeds of 20mph – four times faster than the best human athletes. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Improve your knowledge about our loveable flippered friends with these fascinating facts about penguins

It’s always a good time to celebrate the majesty and silliness of penguins. Here’s a rundown of the most fascinating, funny or important penguin facts we could find.

1. Giant penguins once roamed the planet

The first bird actually called a penguin was the now-extinct Great Auk found in the North Atlantic. Tragically, early explorers and their contemporaries found Great Auks a little too tasty, and the birds were all killed off.

Fossil evidence shows that penguins evolved before the dinosaurs died out, and there are remains of giant, people-sized, prehistoric penguins.

2. The world’s smallest penguin stands just over 30cm high

In comparison, the worlds smallest penguins are the Little Blue penguins. They are just over 30cm high on their flippers. (Yes, you’re thinking you could fit one in your bag, and keep it in your bath, arent you…?).

3. You’ll only find wild penguins in the Southern Hemisphere

All wild penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, and although they are synonymous with the ice, only two species live on the continent of Antarctica. The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin that ever naturally ventures into the Northern Hemisphere on especially long feeding trips

4. Penguins’ black and white ‘tuxedo’ helps them avoid predators

Most penguins have black backs and a white belly. This makes them harder to see from above because they blend in with the dark ocean beneath them. And looking from below, their white underside matches the bright sky overhead.

5. Penguins use some clever tricks to help them move faster

To move fast through the water, penguins use a technique called porpoising. To move quickly over the ice, they switch to tobogganning. Curiously, porpoises neither use toboggans nor do they use the word penguin as a verb.

Scientists have discovered that emperor penguins, the largest species, use a special bubble-power go-faster technology to increase their speed under water.


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Posted On: 20/01/2022

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