Years ago, the Disney movie Happy Feet brought about a whole new generation’s love for penguins. They are admittedly cute and happy, acting little creatures, but there are some interesting facts about them as well.
The Key To Survival—Coloring
Many are not aware that the penguin’s coloring is not by chance. In fact, the black and white features that a penguin sports are one of the most crucial keys to their survival.
When they find that a predator is hovering over, or is above them, their black back helps them to easily and quickly blend in with the darker color of the ocean’s water.
When they are swimming, the white color of their bellies helps them blend in with the lighter shade of the sky. Their white belly is also useful when they are in the snow, as well. This type of camouflage is commonly referred to as “countershading.”
No Nest Needed
The more well-known emperor and king penguins are the only species of the bird that lays just one egg.
Most of the other species typically lay two eggs. The emperor and king species are also different from the others in that they do not build a nest in which to hatch their egg.
They set on the egg, much like a chicken does, keeping it warm and toasty under their feet. It is there that they have a flap of skin, called a brood pouch, that keeps the egg warm and safe.
Size Doesn’t Matter
The penguin lays an egg that is smaller in relative proportion to the adults than any other known bird species.
In the case of the penguin, the size of the egg has nothing to do with comparison to the parents. The fact is that 10-16% of the eggshell itself is made up of the weight of the parent penguin itself.
This is nature’s way of reducing the occurrence of breakage before hatching, due to the often rigorous environment the eggs are typically incubated in.