Penguins!

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October 15, 2014 by taralynnehall

As I mentioned in my September overview post, Husband and I got to go visit some penguins at the Saint Louis Zoo. The trip was a birthday gift for me from my incredible in-laws.

The penguins were so adorable! And I learned a ton. For example, penguins look slick, but their feathers are actually super soft! Here are a few other things I learned:

1) The penguins we got to interact with are called Magellanic penguins. They are closely related to the threatened species Humboldt Penguins, but they reside in different areas of South America.

2) The pink around the face of Magellanic and Humboldt penguins is actually just bare skin. Since they live in an area that is slightly warmer than other types of penguins, they have that featherless area on their face to help keep them cool.

3) Penguins have adorable (and ornery) personalities.

4) The keepers at the Saint Louis Zoo have to hand feed a single fish to each penguin every day, to make sure they get a vitamin especially prepared for them. And penguins bite. Hard.

5) The penguin building at the Saint Louis Zoo includes several species of penguins in one habitat, but the penguins naturally tend to cluster with their own species.

6) Since penguins don’t fly, their bones are not hollow like other birds. In fact, they are very dense birds, which helps them dive into water rather than float on top.

Enough facts…on with the pictures!

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IMG_2492BJ (my husband) is like the penguin whisperer. They loved him.
IMG_1947One of them even tried to burrow into the gap between his back and the wall.
IMG_2495When he heard BJ taking pictures with his phone, he poked his head out and BJ snapped this “penguin selfie.” Still my favorite photo from the entire day.
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IMG_2501Even though the Penguin and Puffin Coast exhibit is technically closed to the public, we got to take a guided tour of the building anyway. We learned about the other species of penguins in the exhibit, like the Gentoo…
IMG_2503…the King penguin…
IMG_2505…and the Rockhopper.
IMG_2509This Gentoo watched our tour group the entire time we were nearby. He just floated there and stared at us.
IMG_2507This Gentoo was vocalizing. They are louder than you would expect!
IMG_2508And this poor guy had started molting. Penguins molt every year.
IMG_2511And of course, there were puffins on the other side of the building. Pretty little birds with funny beaks. Puffins are flighted, so the exhibit is specially designed so that they can’t gain enough speed to leave their area.
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