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Many people come to Antarctica to watch penguins. I wasn’t one of them. They wiggle, wobble, and fall down regularly. You can see native penguins in many countries. I’d already seen them in Australia. And of course I made a custom map of where you can see them.

Penguins of the World
The boxes around the chinstrap and gentoo penguins identify the ones I saw in Antarctica.

While the flightless birds are dirty and fishy-smelling, they are also pretty cute. They are undeniably adorable when waddling on a penguin highway. And sometimes they just fall down on their chubby tummies and push themselves along on the snow, cuz walking is such hard work.

We had strict instructions:

    1. Do not approach closer than 5m. (If they approached us we could get closer than 5m.)
    2. Yield if they want to cross the highway.
    3. Do not make sudden movements.
    4. Do not make loud noises.
    5. Do NOT touch.
    6. Do NOT touch eggs, even if fallen out of nests.
    7. Do NOT touch nests.

I saw no dancing or singing penguins. But Happy Feet, Happy Feet 2, March of the Penguins triple feature, The Endurance book or movie might get you in the mood for Antarctican adventures.

But I did see lots and lots and lots of penguins. You can see some of them in my YouTube video.

What I learned

I learned deep snow isn’t good for penguins. They prefer to nest on rocks. Males carry rocks to females as a mating ritual. (I prefer to buy my ownshiny rocks.)

I learned if the snow or dirt around the nest is red/pink the penguins are healthy and have been eating krill. If the poop is white, they’ve been eating fish. If it’s green they have been eating algae which they only do if they can’t get krill or fish.

I learned the reason they waddle when they walk is because their legs may look short but actually reach about a third of the way into their bodies. Imagine doing a deep knee squat with your feet close together and try to walk.

I learned that just like in Happy Feet skuas are mean birds that will attack penguin nests.

I learned the largest penguin fossil 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighed an estimated 250 pounds! For reference this would have been one inch shorted and the same weight as Lebron James.

I also didn’t see an orca (at all) or seal chasing a penguin. I might just have to go back. Or re-watch some of the movies!

CJ

I have visited 7 continents and 80 countries. I have lived in 9 different countries. I speak English, Spanish, French, and Russian. I like to hike, ski, dive, eat, drink, and wander the wonders of the world.

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