We all know that a penguin is an aquatic, flightless bird that lives primarily in the Southern Hemisphere, mostly in Antarctica. The Emperor Penguin is by far the largest penguin in the world, and the only one to actually breed in the harsh winter of Antarctica. An emperor penguin can dive up to 1,750 feet below the surface and stay submerged for up to 20 minutes at a time.
No matter the breed of penguin, their survival depends heavily on the availability of food; penguins eat fish, squid and krill which thrive on the algae that grows on the bottom of sea ice. Warmer temperatures mean less ice and less algae, so fewer krill. A smaller food supply makes survival more difficult. Male penguins eat and build up a fat layer before the female lays the egg. During incubation, the penguin male will not leave the egg, even to eat. Melting ice also means dwindling breeding grounds for penguins. Commercial fishing can also reduce the available food supply and penguins can be accidentally captured in fishing nets.
Penguins, like many of the world’s most iconic creatures, rely on the ocean for their habitat and food. By adopting a penguin, we’re supporting Oceana and their efforts to preserve the world’s oceans and the wildlife that call them home.
Oh, and that thing about the rocks? During mating season, many species of penguins engage in an oddly charming courtship behavior. The male selects a pebble and presents it to the female. But set your visions of romance aside—the fact is, it’s part of the nest-building behavior. The species of penguins that engage in this practice all build nests from pebbles and small rocks. Still, we think it’s a charming thought. Looking for a thoughtful gift for your loved one? We’ve got some great ideas, and they’re not rocks.