Q:

What do penguins eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Penguins generally eat fish, squid and krill, though their diet depends on the species. Generally, penguins living close to the equator eat more fish, while penguins in arctic climates rely on squid and krill for sustenance.

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What do penguins eat?
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Full Answer

There are five types of penguin diets, which helps reduce competition among species. The great penguin diet, which include king penguins, is made up 80 percent of fish, especially lanternfish. Emperor penguins also eat crustaceans and cephalopods. Brush-tailed penguins, which includes chinstrap and gentoo penguins, eat Antarctic krill, glacial squid and silverfish. Little penguins, which include northern and little blue penguins, feed mainly on squid, fish and small sea animals, and they generally don't dive any deeper than six feet. Crested penguins, such as rockhoppers and royal penguins, dine primarily on krill as well as small aquatic prey such as squid and octopus. Yellow-eyed penguins like to eat cephalopods such as the arrow squid and small fish, whereas banded penguins, such as African and Humboldt penguins, eat sardines, cuttlefish and small crustaceans.

Penguins feed at sea, usually within 50 to 60 feet of the surface, though some penguins will dive as far as 100 feet for their preferred food. Their hunting areas range from nine miles to 559 miles, depending on the species. They have spiny tongues and powerful jaws, which allow them to catch their prey in their bills and swallow them whole.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What kind of fish do penguins eat?

    A:

    The types of fish that penguins eat include sardines, smelt, herring and anchovies. Fish make up different portions of the diets of different species of penguins. For instance, fish make up four percent of the diet of chinstrap penguins and 90 percent of the diet of emperor penguins.

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  • Q:

    What do emperor penguins eat?

    A:

    The emperor penguin's typical diet consists of fish, krill, squid and crustaceans, though the actual composition of their diet varies from population to population. Fish is the most important food source for emperor penguins, with the Antarctic silverfish accounting for most of the penguin's diet.

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  • Q:

    What do macaroni penguins eat?

    A:

    Macaroni penguins eat mostly krill, supplemented by some squid and small amounts of fish and flat-bodied crustaceans. Some populations migrate long distances to the Indian Ocean to take advantage of large krill and crustacean populations there. During the breeding season, macaroni penguins fast for up to 40 days.

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  • Q:

    How large are penguins?

    A:

    Penguin sizes range from the largest penguin species, which can be as tall as 45 inches and weigh as much as 60 to 90 pounds, to the smallest penguin, which only reaches 12 inches in height and weighs 2 to 3 pounds. There are varying species in between at differing heights and weights.

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