THE EMPEROR PENGUIN

By: Susan Carlson and Zoe Leibowitz




Penguins have been around for over 60 million years! They used to be 6 feet tall! Penguins are very popular zoo attractions, but they get sick and die very easily.

Emperor penguins can live up to 20 years of age, and they are the largest of penguins (or just the fattest)! Emperor penguins can grow up to 4 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds! They have very short legs. Penguins have thick layers of fat, in fact one third of their body weight can be fat. They control their body heat by controlling the flow of their blood. Penguins have short thick necks that are brightly colored. Penguins have water proof feathers that look like scales that are short and thick and white on their belly and black on the back. Under their feathers they have air bubbles. They are so well protected that if snow falls on their back it doesn't melt. In fact they are so well insulated that it's hard for them to keep cool in the summer. Their feathers shed in the end of summer.

Penguins, although they are birds, can't fly. Millions of years ago they could, but over the years their wings turned into flippers so they are very good swimmers. They have webbed feet that also help them swim. They can swim up to 30 miles per hour. They can leap out of water up to 7 feet. They waddle or sometimes slide across land.

Penguins live only in Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and as far north as the Galpagos Islands. Emperor penguins are one of the two types of the seventeen kinds of penguins that are native to Antarctica. They live mainly in water and come on land to mate and breed.

Penguins live in groups called colonies. In these colonies sometimes they will huddle together to keep warm. While they huddle they will rotate who is in the middle. The ones in the outside will have their backs to the cold.

Penguins eat large fish and squid and drink ocean water. When they eat they will push one penguin into the water from an ice float to see if he is eaten by a seal, if not they will jump in and eat.

The way penguins mate is that the male will come up to the female and beat his flippers on her sides, he might also rub his neck on her back and head. Penguins call so their mates can find them and so the baby can come home for meals.

Penguins breed their young in a crowded rookery. A rookery is where Penguins gather to breed. They breed in late May, June, and/or winter. After the female lays one egg the male sits on the egg while the female goes off to eat. Penguins build their nests out of stones. These stones are continuously stolen. The male carries the egg with it's feet. It takes two months for the egg to hatch. When the egg has hatched the male has lost one third of its weight. Newborn penguins don't have blubber insulation or water proof feathers. The mother has a special pouch for the young between her legs. They can stay in the pouch for up to 3 weeks! Emperor penguins chicks are gray.

The emperor penguin is eaten by many animals such as the skua birds, leopard seal, and orka whales. They are especially eaten in a rookery because most predators eat the eggs and chicks. Some animals only eat the eggs or chicks.

Penguins are losing their territory fast because we keep building labs and doing research in their territory. Taking penguins to zoos could be deadly. As for penguin's future it's not quite clear, but if we don't to something now penguins will be gone forever because of pollution and us taking up their space. Now we leave you with these words of poetry.

Penguins
By Susan Carlson


Penguins are so short and fat,
that where ever you are you know where they're at,
and when they get angry at you they'll batter your chins ,
with their superdi duperdi super strong fins.

Night Fall
By Zoe Leibowitz


Cold, wet, slithery, silky skin slides on the snow as the snow freezes and turns to ice.
The sun goes down; it turns to night.


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