CyberDodo and the Penguins (1-34)
The body temperature of a penguin is between 37.8 and 38.9 degrees Celsius. As we have already seen, it is the feathers of the penguin which manage to isolate his skin from both water and wind but, still, how is it possible that he can withstand temperatures that would kill a human being in a matter of minutes ? There are five main reasons why the penguin is able to do so :
1) First of all, he is able to regulate his blood circulation according to his body temperature
2) He also has a thick layer of fat which increases his resistance to cold
3) Between his feathers and skin, there is layer of downy feathers which trap air and form a sort of « thermal underwear »
4) The penguin’s black dorsal feathers capture the heat of the sun which works to heat up his body
5) Finally, when standing, unruffled by the cold, he rests on his feet and tail in a way as to avoid direct contact between his body and the frozen ground
Despite this naturally incredible « equipment », when diving in waters around zero degrees (or even below), it is imperative that he remain in movement as to maintain his body heat and, when back on land, he will spend many long hours polishing and grooming his feathers which really do ensure his survival against the cold, water and wind.
However, from time to time it does happen that a penguin will get too warm, and in this case, he will simply move his wings to cool down…
Attention ! This species, like so many others, is sadly in danger. Global warming is fast melting our polar icecaps, one of the main consequence thereof being the disappearance of penguins’ nesting environments.
Lest we not forget pollution, whereby tidal currents carry toxic substance all the way to the Antarctic where they turn up in krill, fish, etc.
Notable is the situation of jelly fishes which constitute the main food source of penguins – they ingest these pollutants and die, thereby depriving the sea birds of one of their main food sources.
And finally, intensive fishing is destroying the fish reserves and thus even further weakening penguin colonies. According to estimates, more than half of penguin populations have disappeared in only the last quarter of a century.
One more reason to consider the question « Can we imagine infinite growth on a finite planet ? » (See the report)
To see the animated cartoon about penguins, click here
To see the quiz, click here
For the game, here
© CyberDodo Productions Ltd.
It might seem strange to use the name « bird » to describe an animal that spends half its life on land (often frozen – we will get back to this) and half in the oceans, but are never in the sky because they are perfectly incapable of flying !
And yet, the penguin is certainly a bird, a migratory bird moreover, who has had to adapt to the oceanic environment of the southern hemisphere of our planet, where he lives. Sometimes faced with extreme climactic conditions, certain species of penguin have developed an impressive resistance to the cold and can handle temperatures as low as 50 degrees below zero !
The penguin is a sociable animal that forms groups when on land and may form colonies of up to several thousand members.
Penguins have a body that is ideally adapted to swimming and diving ; they do not fly through the air but instead « fly » gracefully under water. Suitably, they have small rigid and flat wings, a long body and a head with a long beak.
They have two webbed feet which allow them to walk « upright » in addition to a short and squarish tail. Their bodies are covered by longish, small feathers which are densely packed as to prevent water from coming in contact with their skin.
The size of penguins varies in relation to the 18 different subspecies ; as such, a Little Blue Penguin may be as small as 40 centimetres long and weigh 1.5 kilos, whereas Emperor Penguins may be as long as 1.30 metres, and weigh almost 40 kilos.
Each subspecies of penguin has particular features, with respect to the head, the form of the beak which is adapted to a specific diet, eye colour (yellow, red or blue…) or the plumage (black back and white belly).
However, more generally speaking, penguins’ vision and sense of smell are very developed and their tongue is very rough and strong. We also know that the penguin perceives colours and is sensitive to blue, green and purple, although it seems that when not underwater, the penguin’s vision becomes blurry.