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Waddling Around

Find Scarlet’s Adventure Episode 3: Waddling Around here. Expand learning on penguins with the resources below.

Eyes on Science

Fin-tastic Activities

Discover Penguins

Penguins are unique flightless sea birds that are found around the southern hemisphere. They are not all found around Antarctica, though, as some species can be found in New Zealand, Australia, Africa, and even as far north as the Galapagos Islands. There are around 18 species of penguins, all of which have special adaptations for surviving underwater. They have black backs and white bellies—which is known as countershading camouflage—to help them hide from predators and prey that are swimming above and below them. They swim faster than any bird by literally flying underwater: their wing motion to swim is similar to the wing motion of an air-flying bird. In addition, they have a thick coat of waterproof feathers to protect against the cold, a streamlined body shape to help them swim, and keen eyesight to help them find their fish, krill, or squid prey.

Gentoo Penguins are the fastest swimming birds, achieving a speed of 22 miles per hour! As they swim for food, they occasionally jump out of the water in a behavior known as porpoising (named after another sea animal). The purpose of porpoising is not quite understood, but many scientists believe it could be to warn other penguins of danger, help them escape predators, signal the presence of food to other penguins, or just because they want to. They can hold their breath for about 7 minutes thanks to special structures around their lungs called air sacs. They act as extensions to their lungs to hold more air. Though most of their prey is found closer to the surface, Gentoo Penguins can dive to depths of 650 feet!

More Ways to Explore*

Learn more about penguins by checking out the Disney Nature Penguin Activity & Educator Packets.

*External links are provided for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement by LLPA nor is LLPA responsible for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site.

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