It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.



DOUGLAS ADAMS (1952-2001)

Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it.


I have often had the impression that, to penguins, man is just another penguin...occasionally violent, but tolerable company when he sits still and minds his own business.

At least 85% of Emperor penguins cheat on their partners.
There is no accepted theory as to how penguins got their name. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the Latin 'pinguis', or 'fat'.

Penguins and Landmines

There are thousands of landmines in the Falkland Islands, laid in the 1980s by the Argentineans, which have been a boon to the Islands' penguin populations, who are too light to set them off (sadly, more modern landmines can be set off by the change in temperature caused by a shadow falling on them, so any penguins in Afghanistan wouldn’t get away with it). The consequent lack of humans in the Falklands means that their populations have rebounded after the decline caused by whaling ventures.
When they did stay on the Falklands, whalers needed fire to turn the whales' blubber into whale oil. As there aren't many trees there, whalers would simply burn the penguins, which have highly flammable fat beneath their skin. There were once 10 million penguins on the islands, but that figure fell by 95% before the Argentinean invasion; today there are around one million penguins, compared with 3,000 humans and 700,000 sheep.
The Falklands landmine areas are home to five species of penguin: Southern Rockhoppers, King, Macaroni, Megallanic and Gentoo. 'Gentoo' appears to be named after an insulting term applied to Hindus by the British in the eighteenth century. How it became the name of a penguin is unknown.
There's a myth about Falklands penguins craning their necks to watch planes fly overhead and then falling over backwards. In 2001, British Antarctic Survey researchers confirmed that it isn’t true.

Penguin Poo

Penguins live in some of the most inhospitable places in the world and so are difficult for scientists to track. The standard way to find them was to fit penguins with flipper-bands, but a 2011 study showed that penguins wearing these bands had a 44% lower survival rate than those who didn't.  So the British Antarctic Survey began to use satellites to track the penguins – not the birds themselves, though, but the stains left by their faeces. So penguin poo is visible from space (as long as you have a satellite with a sufficiently powerful imaging system).
Penguins are some of nature’s great defecators. In order to avoid messing up their feathers and their nests, they point their bottoms out of the nests and can shoot their poo up to 40 centimetres away. Researchers at the International University Bremen in Germany calculated that in order to do this the birds squeezed four times as hard as humans usually do. The colour of the birds' poo is important for researchers; if it's pink then the penguins have been eating krill, while white faeces point to a diet of fish. Green poo indicates a diet of algae, a food of last resort that usually means other foods are in short supply.

40 million years ago there was a species of penguin which was 5 foot 7 inches tall – the same height as Eddie Izzard.

Penguins can dive to a depth of 1,500 feet. Emperor penguins can manage 1,700 feet.

Many penguins spend 75% of their lives at sea.