If anything is going to brighten up this fairly gloomy Monday for us, it’s the thought (and the photos) of eleven newly-hatched Humboldt penguins taking the plunge and having their very first swim in London Zoo’s training pool this week.
That’s right, after spending their first weeks nestled away in their cosy nest boxes; this years hatch of penguin chicks waddled their way into the water (and subsequently our hearts) and had a good old splash around under the watchful supervision of the zookeepers.
Humboldt penguins are native to coastal Peru and Chile and are excellent natural swimmers due to their paddle-like wings that act as their flippers. Although some of the baby penguins needed a little encouragement before diving in; adult Humboldt’s can reach up to a whopping 30mph in the water – swimpressive, right?
Hatched on the zoo’s iconic Penguin Beach in April and May, the new penguins on the block have been named Kermit, Ron Burgundy, Stella, Piggy, Ernest, Cricket, Tiki, Ping, Pong, Sean, and wait for it: Karen (the latter four being named as part of a charity auction at the zoo last year).
Penguin keeper, Jessica Rae, explained: “each of the chicks will approach swimming at their own pace, just like humans who learn to crawl and walk at slightly different times.” I guess it’s just like the age-old saying goes: don’t swim before you can waddle.
Once the eleven littluns are strong enough, they’ll be moved over to the zoo‘s main penguin pool to join the colony of 76 Humboldt penguins that currently reside there.
Visitors to ZSL London Zoo this summer will be able to get an up-close look at the baby penguins finding their flippers alongside learning about 14,000 other animals at the conservation zoo.
Plan your visit here.
You’ll find ZSL London Zoo at Outer Circle, London, NW1 4RY. Nearest stations are St. John’s Wood and Mornington Crescent.