Interesting Facts
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      Emperor Penguins feed mainly on fish, Crustaceans (Krill), and Cephalopods (Squid).  Penguins are strictly carnivorous (eat only meat). They swim about 1,700 feet underwater to capture their food.  They consume their meals whole while they are swimming underneath the water.
      Penguins feed primarily during the day when the sun is the highest in the sky.  The light from the sun enters the water and helps them to locate food.  Penguins have better eyesight under the water than on land, which also helps them locate food underwater. They use their short, thick, and strong beak to grip onto their prey.  Their mouths and tongues are lined with little spines, which are used to help hold onto slippery prey.  The downward curve on Emperor Penguins beaks helps them to catch fish and squid that are very fast moving.


      When the females return from the sea after finding food, they feed the father. Next, male penguins feed their young chick by regurgitating the food they had just eaten. The chick will stick it's beak inside the father's small crease of the throat to feed.  Once the chick is in the mother's care, she will take her turn to feed her chick, by regurgitating the food that is stored in her stomach.  Both the mother and the father take turns feeding their chick until the chick is old enough to live on its own.

 A penguin chick feeding


      Although the seas have large amounts of salt contained in them, Emperor Penguins are able to drink the water.  This causes no harm to the penguins because they have specialized glands in their bill to remove the excess salt. 


      A closed circulatory system is found in all vertebrates (animals that contain a backbone).  The two main functions of this system are transportation and conservation of heat.  A process called "countercurrent heat exchange" occurs to conserve heat inside the body.  The heat from the blood traveling through the flippers and legs is transferred to the blood that is returning to the heart.  Also, when the body becomes too cold, the blood vessels in the skin dilate, or become larger.  This signals the body to bring heat that is within the body to the surface to disperse it.


Created By: Kathryn Magnuson
Last updated on:  April 27, 2007