Q:

How do penguins get their food?

A:

Quick Answer

Penguins catch their food while swimming in the ocean. Penguins primarily eat fish, squid and krill that they catch with their sharp beaks. Over their evolutionary history, the ancestors of modern penguins lost their ability to fly in exchange for becoming extraordinary swimmers.

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Full Answer

Penguins are among the most skilled fish-eating animals in the world, which is necessary to fuel their high caloric needs. In contrast to fish who need relatively few calories to drive their cold-blooded metabolisms, penguins must eat a lot to heat their bodies internally. Penguins' maneuverability in the water has come at the cost of not only flight, but also gracefulness while walking. Some species engage in a practice called “tobogganing” in which they lie on their bellies and slide from place to place.

There are 17 species of penguins in the family Spheniscidae. While the various species exhibit a great deal of variation, all of them live alongside the oceans and seas of the Southern Hemisphere. Most penguins form very large groups that may contain thousands of individuals. However, penguins are monogamous animals that bond strongly with another individual. Many species have evolved elaborate mating rituals or displays to help individuals stand out from the crowd.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Do penguins have knees?

    A:

    Penguins do have knees, but they are covered in feathers, so they are not visible. A penguin's leg has four parts: the short femur, knee, tibia and fibula.

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  • Q:

    What is a group of penguins called?

    A:

    The name for a group of penguins varies based on whether the penguins being described are on land or at sea. "Rookery," "waddle" or "colony" are all three terms that are used in reference to a group of penguins on land, while a group of penguins floating at sea is referred to as a "raft."

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  • Q:

    How fast can penguins swim?

    A:

    According to Falklands Conservation, penguins can swim at speeds of up to 17 mph; however, they normally average between 9 and 15 mph. Penguins can also dive further and swim faster than any other bird.

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  • Q:

    Why are penguins endangered?

    A:

    Penguins are endangered because of large-scale fishing operations that diminish their food supply, poachers who steal their eggs and kill adults for their oil, and oil spills that pollute their environment and kill thousands of penguins at once. Penguin populations are also threatened by climate change as the sea ice melts, removing their feeding areas and breeding grounds.

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