Emperor Penguins

Emperor Penguin Facts for Kids

You may think the cold and inhospitable expanses of Antarctica, but this is where Emperor penguins rule. Out of all the penguins, these are the largest. They are about 1.15 m or 45 inches tall. They are also the only animal to live through the harsh Antarctic winters, spending their time on open ice. Read on for heaps of great fun Emperor Penguin Facts for Kids.

Emperor PenguinsEmperor Penguins

Photo Credit: Christopher Michel 

I am Tough

In Antarctica, it can get as cold as -76 degrees Fahrenheit and when there is a blizzard, wind speed is about 124 mph. In this frigid cold, it is difficult for most animals to survive, but the emperor penguin is equipped to handle these harsh conditions.

It has four layers of feathers, which are scale-like. Not only do these feathers protect the penguin from the cold, icy winds, they also make them waterproof. Then there is a huge amount of subcutaneous fat that works like an insulation against the cold and also functions as a source of energy.

I Have Special Adaptations

Emperor Penguin SlidingEmperor Penguins slide on their bellies to move quickly

Photo Credit: Christopher Michel

Emperor penguins have special adaptations that allow them to conserve their body heat. They have small flippers and bill, and also special nasal chambers that reduce the amount of heat emitted while the penguins exhale. Furthermore, the veins and arteries of these birds are extremely close to each other and this special feature allows the emperor penguin to recycle its body heat. When the blood flows to the extremities, it cools down. However, the blood warms up as it makes its way back to the heart.

I am built for Water Speed and Agility

The emperor penguin has aerodynamic body that allows it to swim effortlessly through the water. With the help of its flippers, it can attain a speed of 7.6 miles per hour. Also, it can dive to a depth of 1,850 feet and stay underwater for over 20 minutes.

Making Baby Penguins

Emperor penguins and babiesEmperor Penguin babies look so fluffy

Photo Credit: Christopher Michel

The winter season in Antarctica begins in March and during this period emperor penguins travel 50 miles across ice and icebergs to reach their breeding grounds. The females arrive first, followed by the males. These penguins choose just one mate for the breeding season and after a courtship, the female lays a single egg. The egg is incubated by the male, while the female goes out to the sea to feed on fish, krill and squids. Male protects the egg on his feet and then covers it with its feathered skin layer, which is known as brood pouch. The male does not eat anything while looking after the egg. The egg hatches in May or June.

I Prey and Also Fall Prey

Emperor penguins are very good hunters, but they fall prey to many animals and birds in the Antarctic. Many baby penguins do not make it to their first birthday, as they get consumed by giant petrels and skuas. In the water, the emperor penguin’s biggest enemies are killer whales and leopard seals that feed on adults as well as juveniles.

Interesting Emperor Penguin Facts For Kids

  • Emperor penguins are flightless birds
  • An emperor penguin can recognize the call of its baby and feed only their offspring
  • Baby emperor penguins are kept together and supervised by a few adult penguins
  • An emperor penguin can live more than 20 years
  • Emperor penguins are known to huddle in a circle to keep warm and they keep changing position, so that each penguin is cozy and warm in the icy cold

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