MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Why do penguins only live on Antartica (and around that Area)

Date: Wed May 20 13:13:06 1998
Posted By: Jen Paur, Undergraduate zoology, University of Washington
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 891867313.Zo

Hello Morris! Thanks for your question. I found a lot of information on the SeaWorld homepage.

Penguins live all over the place! They even live in the Galapagos Islands, located ON the equator near South America! They generally live near "nutrient rich, cold water currents that provide an abundant supply of food" (that from the webpage I noted above).

One reason that some animals are only found in certain areas is due to their being stranded there at some point in history and they continued to evolve in that environment. And perhaps the penguin has too many predators in the northern hemisphere, or there is no environment that is inviting to their needs. Animal groups tend to be found in an "area", instead of worldwide, though there are certainly plenty of exceptions. This is mainly because: not just any animal can live anywhere! Penguins can't live in Bulgaria, because they spend 75% of their time in the water, and they get their food from the water. So naturally, you will only find penguins on coasts. The same goes for many animals- the bison needs a lot of grazing land, and therefore doesn't live in Antarctica, and the grey wolf needs an area that provides camoflauge and big animals to feed on, so it doesn't live in the desert. Animals live in the environment that suits them best.

I hope this answers your question!
Jen Paur Superstar

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