Would you be able to survive in the arctic for your entire life? Penguins are one of the few creatures that are able to survive in some of the harshest conditions on the face of this planet. They survive harsh weather, predators, and starvation in the coldest winters of the world. Penguins are miraculous creatures that can survive in the most remote places.
There are currently 17 species of penguins in the world (The Encyclopedia Americana.). The Emperor Penguin is one of the most commonly referred penguins. They are the largest species of penguins, standing at 4 feet tall. They lay one egg in a season, causing them to be very vulnerable and near threatened (“Emperor Penguin”). On the other side of the spectrum, one of the smallest penguins is the White-flippered Penguin. They stand at only 1 foot tall and weigh around 3.3 pounds (“White-flippered Penguin”). All penguins live close to the southern antarctic except for the Galápagos Penguin, which lives on the Galápagos Islands. They are able to live in the hot climate as a result of cool water currents from the south. As a result of the growing population of people, they are currently endangered (Ainley).
Penguins’ bodies are specially suited to their environment. They are covered with short thick feathers that form a warm, waterproof coat. Penguins also have a thick layer of blubber that allows them to keep warm in below freezing water temperatures and a layer of warm down under their waterproof coat. They can swim for many hours at 8 mph underwater and in short bursts can reach as much as 24 mph. They can dive deeper than any other bird, the emperor penguin diving as deep as 2000 feet and many can hold their breath for as long as 20 minutes. There is not much food in the arctic, so penguins eat fish, squid, and crustaceans (Ainley).
Penguins have many dangers in the wild such as predators and harsh weather. Predators of penguins include animals such as killer whales, seals, and sea lions (Ainley). They can sometimes escape them underwater by swimming in fast bursts, but many still become prey. Temperature in Antarctica averages at about -57° Celsius (-70° Farenheit) (“Climate of Antarctica”). Penguins have adapted to survive these temperatures by moving in packs, allowing them to use each other’s body heat to stay warm (Ainley).
Penguins have amazing abilities and qualities that allow them to survive in the harsh arctic. They can escape predators, find food in the unlikeliest places, and stay warm in the coldest places on earth.