Amazing Facts About the Zebra

Each zebra has its own unique pattern of distinctive stripes, just as humans have their own unique pattern of fingerprints. Zebras stick together in herds. Within a herd, zebras tend to stay together in smaller family groups. Families are generally made up of a male, several females, and their young. Discover more curiosities about zebras!

ZEBRA

  • There are only three species of zebras in the wild and they are found only in Africa: Burchell’s Zebras, also known as common zebra or from plains; The Grevy´s Zebras, also known as Imperial Zebra, due to a homage paid to the president of the French republic Jules Grévy; And the Equus Zebra, or mountain zebra, which are limited to the mountainous regions of South Africa and the Western Cape
  • The zebra stripes, according to a study by scientists at the University of Calgary and published by the magazine PLOS ONE, serve to protect animals from the brutal heat, which can be very intense in the savannas where they live
  • Just like human fingerprints, Zebra stripe patterns are unique to the individual
  • Depending on the species, a zebra can weigh between 5 ft and 992 lb. The Zebra of Grévy is considered the greater among the three species, being able to reach 4 ft of height and 992 lb, either male or female. They can live about 20 to 30 years in nature, and 40 in zoos
  • Zebra are highly social and will only go to sleep if they are close to neighbours so that they can be warned if a predator approaches. They also prefer to graze together and will groom each other
  • Zebra are brave animals that care deeply about their group members. When a group member is wounded by a predator attack, other zebras will come to their defence, circling the injured individual and attempting to drive the predator(s) away
  • Mother zebra are very caring and protective mothers. Infant zebras (foals) are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after birth, and will continue to drink their mother’s milk for the first year of life.
  • All zebra are close to their mothers, but males also form strong bonds with their fathers
  • Zebra communicate with each other through various vocal expressions including sniffing and balking, but also through the position of their ears and tail. They can turn their ears in almost any direction and harness this ability to communicate their mood e.g. pulled backwards when angry, or standing erect when feeling calm and friendly
  • Zebra can run up to 40mph. They combine this fast running with excellent stamina as well as being able to run in zig-zagging motions to evade predators that are chasing them
  • Although they may appear to be badly camouflaged, when they are in a herd the zebra’s distinct stripes merge into a big mass and make it hard for predators to single out individual animals
  • Massive herds consisting of tens of thousands of zebra perform one of the world’s most awe-inspiring migrations across the Serengeti plains
  • In Native American shamanism, the zebra is a symbol of balance, agility, clarity, and sureness of path.

The Big Cat…Lion

The lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power and ferocity, the “King of the Jungle.” They have a mysterious, majestic air to them that draws people in. But if you’re a cat lover, however, you may notice some surprising similarities between these big cats and your house cat.

 

Lion

 

  • African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups or “prides.” A pride consists of about 15 lions
  • Male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting. Despite this, the males eat first
  • The lion was once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe but now exists only in Africa with one exception. The last remaining Asiatic lions are found in Sasan-Gir National Park in India, which was primarily created to protect the species. Currently, there are approximately 350-400 lions in the park
  • A male lion weighs about 500 pounds and grows to eight feet in length. It sounds impressive, but tigers are actually larger, reaching 850 pounds and 11 feet long
  • Female lions, sisters, live together for life. Their female cubs also stay with the pride, even after they’re grown, but male cubs must venture out on their own once they reach maturity
  • A lion’s roar can be heard from as far as 5 miles away
  • A lion can run for short distances at 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet
  • Even though the lion is sometimes referred to as the “king of the jungle,” it actually only lives in grasslands and plains. The expression may have come from an incorrect association between Africa and jungles or may refer to a less literal meaning of the word jungle
  • A good gauge of a male lion’s age is the darkness of his mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion
  • A lion’s heels don’t touch the ground when it walks
  • A lion may sleep up to 20 hours a day
  • Lions are associated with pride, courage, and strength, making them a perfect national symbol. Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Singapore all regard the lion as their national symbol
  • US Fish and Wildlife Services announced that African lions may be facing extinction by the year 2050.The greatest threats facing lions are habitat loss, loss of prey (largely due to the bushmeat trade), and human-lion conflict, including sport hunting and retaliation kills, in which lions are killed after attacking area livestock
  • There are only about 34,000 lions left in Africa, which is about half the number that existed 30 years ago. About 70 percent of these animals live in just 10 regions of the continent, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. In West Africa, fewer than 250 adult lions remain.

Amazing Facts about Monkeys

Primates are very intelligent, with behaviors that reinforce their proximity to humans on the evolutionary scale. They exist in almost every continent on the planet, however there are probably many things that you still do not know about monkeys.

Monkey

  • Monkeys are divided into two classes: “Old World” monkeys and “New World” monkeys. The former are native to Africa and Asia, while the New World monkeys are found in South and Central America
  • To communicate, monkeys use facial expressions, vocalizations and body movements
  • Apes and spider monkeys swing arm-to-arm in trees, rest of the monkeys do not, they run across branches
  • Monkeys make peace and express affection with others by grooming each other. They spend long hours removing items from each other’s fur, which helps them stay clean and, at the same time, socialize and bond with each other
  • Trees, grasslands, mountains, forests and high plains are the most common places where monkeys live
  • The Pygmy Marmoset is the world’s smallest monkey, according to sources.  It weighs 85 to 140 grams and measures 117-159 millimeters
  • The largest monkey is the male Mandrill, which weighs almost 35 kilograms and 1 meter long
  • Most of the monkeys eat both plants and animals, some monkeys also eat dirt
  • Capuchin monkeys are very careful and intelligent. To identify different types of predators, Capuchin monkeys use different vocal sounds.Some organizations train Capuchin monkeys as service animals to assist quadriplegics and other people with severe spinal cord injuries or mobility impairments
  • South American Titi monkeys are monogamous.  They become distressed when separated and mate for life.  They show affection by lip smacking, cuddling, nuzzling, holding hands, grooming each other
  • There are a few species of monkeys that can howl loud enough to be heard from miles away. The cries of howler monkeys can be heard from about three miles (4.8 km) in a dense forest
  • The only free-living species of monkey in Europe is the Barbary Macaque
  • Squirrel monkeys produce more than 20 vocalizations
  • Monkeys do not eat the skins of bananas, they peel the skin of their bananas
  • It is easy to distinguish monkeys from apes.  Monkeys have tails, apes don’t
  • A monkey’s powerful tail is usually used for balance. Their tails are strong enough for them to hang upside down from trees for sustained periods
  • Monkeys have an IQ of 174
  • Some species of monkeys can see a range of colors. Some, such as owl monkeys, can only differentiate between white and black
  • Monkeys are worshiped in several religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. The Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi, Thailand, where the world’s wildest dinner party in honor of the monkey deity “Hanuman” is held every year. The festival includes giving fruits and vegetables to the local monkey population.

Most Important Rabbit Facts

Rabbits are small mammals with fluffy, short tails, whiskers and distinctive long ears. There are more than 30 species around the world, and while they live in many different environments, they have many things in common.

 

Rabbit

 

  • Stories abound about the prolific reproductive nature of rabbits and so it is not surprising that the rabbit should have become a symbol of fertility in many cultures and religions.  As the Christian influence spread, this symbol became associated with Easter
  • Rabbits are meticulously clean animals and are easy to train
  • Happy rabbits practice a cute behavior known as a “binky:” they jump up in the air and twist and spin around!
  • A baby rabbit is called a kit, a female is called a doe, and a male is a buck.  A group of rabbits is called a herd
  • Rabbits are herbivores, eating a diet entirely of grasses and other plants.  Because their diet contains so much cellulose, they pass two different kinds of feces to completely break down their food.  While other grazers will chew and swallow their feed, then “burp” it back up (as cows chew cud), rabbits will re-ingest their feces on the first pass to get all of the nutrients they need
  • The average size of a rabbit litter is usually between 4 and 12 babies, which results after a short 30-day gestation.  Male rabbits can reproduce as early as 7 months of age, and females as early as 4 months.  This means in one year a single female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren!
  • A rabbit’s life span is about 8 years, though sterilized rabbits (those who are spayed/neutered) can live as long as 10-12 years
  • A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing!  Many people believe they need to chew to keep their teeth short.  While they do enjoy chewing, it’s the normal wear from where their top and bottom teeth meet that keeps a rabbit’s teeth short
  • They have a 360º panoramic view that allows them to detect predators in all directions
  • Can you guess what other domestic animal is similar to rabbits?  A horse!  They have similar eyes, teeth, and ears (those belonging to many prey animals), as well as a similar diet and behavior.  Clearly, their size is much different…
  • A rabbit symbol is often used to show that a product was not tested on animals.  This is because rabbits have traditionally been used in product safety testing
  • Bunnies cannot vomit, so it is super important to feed them only healthy, fresh, appropriate food.

Interesting Facts about Cows

Cows may seem like simple creatures as you see them grazing with seemingly not a care in the world. But there’s more to these ruminants than meets the eye! Cows are fascinating animals. Here’s a list of interesting facts.

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  • The term “cow” refers only to the females of the bovine population. Males are typically called bulls or steers
  • Cows are social animals, and they naturally form large herds. And like people, they will make friends and bond to some herd members, while avoiding others. If a cow isolates herself, she’s either not feeling well or she’s about to give birth
  • Cows are red-green colorblind. In a bullfight, its the waving of the cape that attracts the bull not the red color
  • A cow’s heart beats between 60 and 70 beats per minute
  • Cows can hear lower and higher frequencies better than humans
  • An average dairy cow weighs about 1,200 pounds
  • A cows normal body temperature is 101.5°F
  • The average cow chews at least 50 times per minute
  • The typical cow stands up and sits down about 14 times a day
  • An average cow has more than 40,000 jaw movements in a day
  • Cows actually do not bite grass; instead they curl their tongue around it
  • Cows have almost total 360-degree panoramic vision
  • Cows have a single stomach, but four different digestive compartments
  • Cows are pregnant for 9 months just like people
  • A dairy cow can produce 125 lbs. of saliva a day
  • Cows spend 8 hours per day eating, 8 hours chewing her cud (regurgitated, partially digested food), and 8 hours sleeping
  • You can lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs. Cows knees can’t bend properly to walk downstairs
  • Cows can’t vomit
  • The average cow drinks 30 to 50 gallons of water each day
  • The average cow produces 70 lbs. of milk. That’s 8 gallons per day!
  • Cows only have teeth on the bottom
  • Cows have a great sense of smell. They can smell something up to 6 miles away
  • A Holstein’s spots are like a fingerprint. No two cows have exactly the same pattern of black and white spots. They are all different
  • The average cow will eat about 100 lbs. of feed per day
  • Cattle have about 22,000 genes, and a whopping 80% of those are shared with humans. Another 10% are shared with dogs and rodents
  • Cows can live more than 20 years.  If they have horns, you can guess their age by counting the number of rings
  • In India, you can go to jail for killing or injuring a cow. Hindu nations believe that cows are holy and should be esteemed — not eaten!

Incredible Dog Facts

Do you think you know your best friend? See how well do you know dogs with these incredible dog facts!

Dog

  • Ancient Egyptians revered their dogs. When a pet dog would die, the owners shaved off their eyebrows, smeared mud in their hair, and mourned aloud for days
  • The phrase “raining cats and dogs” originated in seventeenth-century England. During heavy rainstorms, many homeless animals would drown and float down the streets, giving the appearance that it had actually rained cats and dogs
  • The earliest European images of dogs are found in cave paintings dating back 12,000 years ago in Spain
  • There are an estimated 400 million dogs in the world.The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world. France has the second highest
  • The Basenji is the world’s only barkless dog
  • Dalmatians are completely white at birth
  • A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a second and can hear sounds four times farther away than a human can
  • Touch is the first sense the dog develops. The entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings
  • Eighteen muscles or more can move a dog’s ear
  • Dog nose prints are as unique as human fingerprints and can be used to identify them. Dogs can smell about 1,000-10,000 times better than humans. While humans have 5 million smell-detecting cells, dogs have more than 220 million. The part of the brain that interprets smell is also four times larger in dogs than in humans
  • Different smells in the a dog’s urine can tell other dogs whether the dog leaving the message is female or male, old or young, sick or healthy, happy or angry
  • Dogs do not perceive colors as we do. However they do not see in black and white. Humans can see three different colors (red, green and blue). Dogs only see two colors (blue and yellow)
  • Dogs have three eyelids. The third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” keeps the eye lubricated and protected
  • A dog’s shoulder blades are unattached to the rest of the skeleton to allow greater flexibility for running
  • Small quantities of grapes and raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, cooked onions, or anything with caffeine can also be harmful
  • Apple and pear seeds contain arsenic, which may be deadly to dogs
  • Dogs have sweat glands in between their paws
  • Dogs are about as smart as a two- or three-year-old child. This means they can understand about 150-200 words, including signals and hand movements with the same meaning as words
  • Apparently dogs wag their tail to the right when they’re happy and to the left when they are frightened!

Fox Facts

Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica and thrive in cities, towns, and rural settings. But despite being all around us, they’re a bit of a mystery. Here’s more about this elusive animal.

fox

As beautiful and interesting as foxes are, their existence is still a mystery for many. Their fiery-red coats and bushy tail which can come in steel gray or snow white has inspired many stories and legends throughout the years. We leave you with some of the most interesting facts about foxes!

  • Foxes are members of the dog family. A female fox is called a “vixen”, a male fox is called a “dog fox” or a “tod” and baby foxes are called “pups”, “kits” or “cubs”. A group of foxes is called a “skulk” or a “leash”
  • Foxes are the only type of dog capable of retracting their claws like cats do. Foxes also have vertical pupils that look more like those of cats than the rounded pupils that other dogs have
  • There are many different types of foxes, and they are the most widespread species of wild dog in the world. Foxes live just about everywhere – in the countryside, cities, forests, mountains and grasslands. Arctic foxes live in cold climates far north, and fennec foxes live in the North African desert. Grey foxes who live in North America are the only type of dogs who can climb trees!
  • Foxes show great caring, adaptability and intelligence when it comes to raising their young
  • When fox pups are born, they are unable to see, hear or walk, and their mother must take good care of them. When the pups are young, their father hunts and brings food back for the family
  • Foxes eat just about anything, including berries, worms, spiders and small animals such as mice and birds. If they live in the city, they eat rubbish that people leave out. If they have extra food, they hide it in a small hole and eat it later when they are hungry
  • The Red Fox can run at nearly 30 miles per hour
  • They can only live 3-4 years in the wild, but are known to survive 10 in captivity
  • Although they are wild animals, foxes are actually extremely friendly, mostly because they have an unusual curios nature. Studies have shown that the earliest species of foxes have also befriended humans. A 16.500 year old cemetery containing the corpse of a human male and his fox companion were found in northern Jordan. This means that we made friends with foxes long before we made the dog our faithful companion
  • Foxes are a symbol of wisdom and cunning in many cultures, but it is the Japanese and Korean culture that have taken a special interest in this animal. As a matter of fact, they revere it so much that it is featured in many legends and said to help achieve enlightenment!

Interesting pig facts

Few animals enjoy such a negative reputation as the pig. We think of them as slovenly, gluttonous creatures who are content to roll around in their own filth. But there is so much more to the humble swine than meets the eye.

pig

Winston Churchill famously said that “Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.”

  • Pig Beach: The Bahamas are known for their white, sandy beaches, palm trees, and bronzed women in barely-there bikinis. Almost no one would associate the islands with swimming pigs. However, on Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island, a population of aquatic swine have made headlines. They’ve come to associate humans with food and are rumored to be quite friendly. Upon spotting an incoming boat, the pigs leap into the water and paddle over, hoping for a snack
  • Video Games: Barnyard creatures aren’t generally known for their intellect, but pigs are quite intelligent—likely more so than dogs. In Europe, where regulations require farmers to keep their pigs mentally stimulated, there’s been research on creating a video game for them. The game “Pig Chase” features a series of dancing lights that the animals can follow in conjunction with a human, trying to reach a common goal. The game is rather similar to getting your cat to follow a laser pointer
  • Genetics: Pig´s genetic makeup is very close to our own. Because of this, stem cells from pigs are being used by scientists to research cures for human diseases.That is also the reason why it is possible to transplant a pig heart valve into humans
  • Khanzir (Arabic for “pig”): Some religions, such as Islam and Judaism, forbid the consumption of pork. Afghanistan is particularly averse to pigs, and it’s claimed that there’s only one pig in the entire country
  • Bhutan Marijuana: The Himalayan nation of Bhutan has a ton of biodiversity. One of the many wild plants that grows in Bhutan is cannabis, whose psychedelic properties went unrecognized for quite some time. Instead, they used the stuff for pig feed. The marijuana both nourished the pigs and increased their voracious appetite, causing them to grow incredibly fast. In 1999, Bhutan became the last country in the world to receive television—and with it, the knowledge that you can smoke the crap out of that pig feed. The marijuana soon found its way out of the mouth of Babe and into hash pipes.
  • Singing pigs: Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and can recognize their own names by the time they’re 2 weeks old. Sows have even been known to sing to their young whilst nursing! A pig’s squeal can be as loud as 115 decibels – that’s 3 decibels higher than the sound of a supersonic airliner. And when they’re not squealing, they’re talking. Pigs communicate constantly with each other, and more than 20 different vocalisations have been identified; from wooing a mate to saying ‘I’m hungry!”
  • Runners: Think that pigs are slow and lumbering? As it turns out, they’re not at all! Adult pigs can run at speeds of up to 11mph, or in other words, they can run a seven-minute mile. Could you do any better?
  • Sweating like a pig: If you’ve ever suggested that someone was ‘sweating like a pig’, then you’d be wrong. Pigs have hardly any sweat glands, and one of the best ways for them to cool down is to wallow in all of that glorious mud
  • Social life: They may be indiscriminate eaters, but pigs are also highly intelligent and incredibly social animals. When kept in a group they will snuggle close to one another, and prefer to sleep nose-to-nose. Studies have also shown that, much like humans, they dream
  • Pigs in China: the pig is associated with fertility and virility in China. This has led to statues of pigs being displayed prominently in the bedrooms of Chinese couples who are trying to have children. The pig is the last of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. The pig is seen to represent, fortune, honesty, happiness and virility
  • Hygiene: Pigs are very clean, keeping their toilet area far away from where they lie down and eat. Even newborn piglets will leave the nest to go to the toilet within hours of birth
  • Ecological: Wild pigs play an important role in managing ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity. By rooting, and thus disturbing the soil, they create areas for new plant colonisation. They also spread fruit plants by dispersing their seeds!

Funny Cats

cat

You know your cat right? And if we tell you that your 4-legged friend is more complex than it seems … Here are some fun facts you do not know about your cat and that make them incredible creatures!

  • There are more than 500 million domestic cats worldwide and about 40 different species
  • Cats are extremely fast in movements and reflexes, and can run up to 30 miles per hour. If we imagined a race with Usain Bolt a cat would win easily! And they can jump about 7 times their height
  • In addition to a smell 15 times more accurate than humans, cats have a fabulous night vision that allows them to see things that we do not see – although they do not see in the complete darkness
  • Cats are better hunters than dogs. A study of more than 2,000 fossils showed that members of the cat family (felidae) were better hunters and more capable of survival  than their dog (canid) counterparts. The study found that cats out-fought and out-hunted dogs. That led to a significant decline in the number of wild dog species that survived
  • Cats are an invasive specie. All cats are good natural hunters, even domesticated housecats. But are they too good? Free-ranging cats, domesticated cats who spend a lot of their time outside, have contributed to the extinction of 33 different species, including birds, mammals, and reptiles. They are actually listed among the top 100 most invasive species
  • Cats don’t only purr when they are happy. Every cat owner loves to hear their pet purring beside them but the idea that cats purr because they’re happy or satisfied may not be entirely accurate. Yes, they purr when they’re being petted or nursing their kittens, but they also purr in stressful situations. Cats may purr also as a way to stimulate their bones and muscles without expending any real energy or stressing their bodies
  • Cats can’t have enough beauty sleep. If you own a cat, you know that it spends most of its time being lazy and basking in the sun. But did you know they spend a whopping 70% of their lives sleeping? That’s 16 hours a day! Cats need an enormous amount of energy to hunt, or pounce on the little toy mouse they have. Sleeping is their way of storing up energy
  • Cats can’t taste sweetness. Cats are quite possibly the only mammal who can’t taste sweetness. Cats, including lions, tigers and the one quietly scratching at your curtains, lack the amino acids that would make the DNA for the gene allowing them to detect sweet tastes. The deficiency might be related to the fact that cats are primarily carnivores, who are descended from a long line of meat-eaters. They have no need to detect the sweetness that is found in carbohydrates or plant-based sources of food
  • Salty cat. If you’re ever lost at sea, don’t drink the ocean water. The large amount of salt in the water dehydrates humans. Cats, on the other hand, can drink sea water in order to survive. Cats have crazy kidneys that filter out the salt from the water so they can re-hydrate themselves
  • Unique prints. If f you take a look at your cat’s nose, you will notice it has a bunch of tiny bumps and ridges. Like a human’s fingerprint the pattern of bumps and ridges is unique to each cat. So if your cat every gets arrested its nose print will be in the kitty criminal records for ever!
  • Natural sky divers. Ever wonder why cats always seem to land on their feet? Well, they actually don’t violate the laws of physics; instead they place themselves in an umbrella position, much like a skydiver to slow down the fall. Also, due to their keen sense of direction that can easily tell which side is up then adjust their body accordingly. However, it takes some time for cats’ bodies to realize they are falling and properly adjust. Cats are more likely to survive a higher fall because they have more time to prepare their body and decelerate. The death rate for cats falling from a 2 to 6-story building is much higher than falling from a 7 to 32-story building
  • Cats sweat through their paws. This is why you may see them leave moist paw prints in the summer time!
  • One cat almost never meows to another cat. Cats almost always meow people, managing to vocalize about 100 different sounds
  • The fattest cat ever weighed was 21,3 Kg. A normal cat weighs about 4 pounds
  • The oldest living cat is 26 years old. According to Guinness World Records, a 26-year-old cat named Corduroy is currently the oldest living domestic cat. The oldest known domestic cat was named Creme Puff, and he lived to be an astounding 38 years, 3 days old. The average domestic cat lives to be 15
  • One big cat family. The existence of cats can be traced back to the Middle East. But a genetic study changed the way we look at cats. The study found that every single domesticated cat could be traced back to one of five African wild cats from 8000 BC! That’s one big family.

Fun facts about Penguins

Penguins are some of the most recognizable and beloved birds in the world. They are also some of the most unique and amazing birds because of their physical adaptations to survive in unusual climates and to live mostly at sea.

Do you know what makes penguins so special and interesting?

pinguim

  • There are 18 species of penguin in the world. While some species are widespread and thriving, 13 of them have declining populations, and five of them are considered endangered and facing possible extinction if strong protection and conservation measures are not taken
  • Penguins are primarily found only in the Southern Hemisphere. While most people associate penguins with Antarctica, they are much more widespread and penguin populations can also be found in South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as many small islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. In captivity, penguins can be found all over the world
  • Penguins lost the ability to fly millions of years ago, but their powerful flippersand streamlined bodies make them very accomplished swimmers. They are the fastest swimming and deepest diving species of any birds and can stay underwater up to 20 minutes at a time
  • While swimming, penguins will leap in shallow arcs above the surface of the water, a practice called porpoising. This coats their plumage with tiny bubbles that reduce friction, allowing them to swim as fast as 22 miles per hour (35 kph). It may also help them evade predators and allows them to breathe more regularly, and some scientists theorize that they may make these leaps out of sheer joy
  • The light front and dark back tuxedo-like coloration of classic penguin plumage is called countershading and provides superb camouflage from above and below to protect penguins in the water. From above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface. It also helps disguise penguins from their prey so they can hunt more successfully
  • Penguins are carnivores that catch all their food live in the sea. Depending on the species they can eat a variety of different marine animals, including fish, squid, shrimp, krill and other crustaceans. Because their diets are so specialized, penguins are called piscivorous
  • Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing
  • Penguins’ eyes work better underwater than they do in the air, giving them superior eyesight to spot prey while hunting, even in cloudy, dark or murky water
  • Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt
  • The emperor penguin is the largest penguin species, standing up to 48 inches tall and weighing up to 90 pounds when mature and not fasting to incubate eggs. The little penguin is the smallest penguin at just 12 inches tall and weighing only 2 pounds
  • The yellow-eyed penguin is believed to be the rarest penguin species, with only approximately 5,000 birds surviving in the wild, though population numbers fluctuate. They can only be found along the southeastern coast of New Zealand and smaller nearby islands
  • Penguins are highly social, colonial birds that form breeding colonies numbering in the tens of thousands. They may use the same nesting grounds for thousands of years and the largest colonies can number in the millions, but parents and chicks use their superb hearing to easily keep track of one another even in a crowd
  • Emperor penguins and king penguins do not make any sort of nests. Instead, a single egg for each mated pair is incubated on a parent’s feet and kept warm by a flap of skin called a brood pouch. Incubation can take 8-10 weeks and occurs during winter, so the egg must always be kept warm and safe
  • It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born
  • Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm
  • Emperor penguin males will incubate their eggs for two months in the winter without eating while the females are at sea. During that time, they live off their fat reserves and may lose half their body weight. When the females return shortly after the chicks hatch, they switch parental duties and the females fast while the males go to sea to replenish their fat stores
  • If a female Emperor Penguin’s baby dies, she will often “kidnap” an unrelated chick
  • Depending on the species, a wild penguin can live 15 to 20 years. During that time, they spend up to 75 percent of their lives at sea
  • Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs!