MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Penguin sleeping position-I am doing a project on penguins. After

Date: Wed Dec 8 09:57:27 1999
Posted By: June M. Wingert , RM(NRM), Research Associate, Comparative Pathology Department, Baylor College of Medicine
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 943293925.Zo

Hi Allison,
In order to find the correct information for your questions I was drawn to 
website located at
Kevin Welch has done a fine job of presenting a tremendous amount of 
information on the flightless bird, the Penguin.  His answers to your 
questions can be found in his description of Creches.  "A Creche is an 
accumulation of penguins in close proximity to one another, usually 
touching. Creches are found almost entirely in the emperor penguin 
populations, and they are formed by both adults and juveniles. The 
Antarctic climate is particularly hostile, especially in the depth of 
winter when temperatures can reach well below freezing. Coupled with brutal 
winds, the Antarctic shelves are areas in which few animals could survive. 
Emperor adults, while cradling their single eggs on their feet, form groups 
of tightly knit populations. Emperor penguin juveniles do the same thing 
once they are capable of being somewhat independent. In summary, the creche 
serves as a means for staying warm." 

In answer to the first part of your question " How do they sleep"?
They sleep lying down and standing up.
According to K.Welch in regards to whether or not they "stand in circles 
with their backs to the wind", he claims they do no exhibit too many 
preferences.  This is more directed to Emperors who face extreme 
temperatures and not so much as far as other species are concerned.

As far as" taking turns on the outside to permit those in the middle to 
He writes that this is an evolutionary fallacy and states Penguins are'nt 
concerned for the wellfare of unrelated members of their groups.  For a 
really in depth explanation go to his website and read the
information he has about "Emperor Penguin Creches and Altruism".

As far as whether or not they "sleep on the water while floating ",he 
simply states they don't sleep in or on the water.

Sea World at Busch Gardens will give you additional information on their 
Distribution and Habitat, Physical Characteristics, Scientific 
Classification, Senses and Adaptations for an Aquatic Environment.
You can also learn about their Diet and Eating Habits, Reproduction, 
Hatching and Care of Chicks, Communication and Causes of Death.
Sea World strives to provide an enthusiastic, imaginative, and 
intellectually stimulating atmosphere to help students reach their academic 
potential. /
New Zealand also has a great site on Penguin species their status and 

Hope you enjoy the wealth of information concerning The Penguin.

June Wingert   Mad Scientist

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