Penguin Awareness Day – January 20th

The 20th of January is celebrated worldwide as Penguin Awareness Day. This day is celebrated to raise awareness about the number of penguins in the world that is dramatically decreasing every day. This day also brings focus on the matter of conservation of penguin habitats.

No one really knows when the first Penguin Awareness Day came about or what made that person realize the importance of this animal’s future.

Why is Penguin Conservation Important?

Penguin conservation is a serious problem today. Penguins are threatened by climate change, oil spills , and penguin hunting for their meat . Today penguins are protected by many international laws restricting hunting penguins for any reason .

If you live in the southern hemisphere penguin awareness day is not celebrated on this date; however, penguins can be found at popular beaches around Australia and South Africa during the warmer months of the year! Make sure to say hi if you see one!

penguin awareness day

How You Can Celebrate Penguin Awareness Day

You can celebrate penguins on January 20th by wearing black and white, or a tuxedo to work, LOL!

Most people celebrate Penguin Awareness Day by watching a documentary about penguins or a penguin-related movie. You can also take some time to learn more about penguins and their habitat.  

What is a Penguin?

Penguins are a group of adorable, aquatic, flightless birds. Almost all penguins can be exclusively found in the Southern Hemisphere, and there is only one species, the Galapagos Penguin, north of the equator.

Most penguins feed on fish, squid, krill, and other sea life that they catch while swimming underwater. They spend half of their lives in the ocean. There are 18 different species of penguins.

The largest species of penguins is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), which can be 1.1 m tall and weigh up to 35kg. The smallest penguin in the world is the Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor), which is 40 cm tall and weighs 1 kg.

blue penguins on a beach

Penguins can dive with speed as fast as 7.5 miles per hour.

Penguins take 3 to 8 years to reach sexual maturity. The smaller breeds may begin breeding at the age of 4 but the larger one will definitely need more time. Most species have an annual breeding season – Spring through Summer. Majority of them are monogamous. The average lifespan is 20 years.

Over the past 50 years, the number of Emperor Penguins has declined by 50%. Researchers have shown that a warm spell during the 1970s in the Southern Ocean is to blame.

Also, warmer air and sea surfaces in the Antarctic drastically reduce the amount of ice in the water. This results in smaller populations of krill and crustaceans, which are the main source of food for the Emperor Penguin.

Interesting Facts About Penguins

  • Penguins are almost waterproof. There is a gland near the tail that secretes oils that cover their skin and act as a water repellent.
  • Male Emperor penguins can secrete a curd-like substance to be used to feed baby chicks if the mother is not around.
  • Penguins are sight hunters.
  • Penguins swallow their prey whole while swimming.
  • Penguins can’t fly.
  • Penguins are synchronized divers.
  • During the Emperor Penguin breeding season, the temperature may drop to -60 °C (-76°F) and winds may reach 200 kph (124 mph).
  • Penguins are equipped with powerful flippers that propel them through the water at up to 20 miles per hour!
  • Once ashore penguins spend most of their time on land moulting, or shedding their feathers , which grows back when they return to the ocean.
  • Most penguin species mate for life, although there are some exceptions!
  • Up until 2010 it was believed by penguin scholars that all penguins laid only one egg at a time ; however, photographic evidence has proven this wrong.
  • While penguins may look cute in cartoons they can be extremely aggressive animals in real life.
  • They sometimes fight over food using their sharp beaks, but luckily these fights rarely end badly because penguins have thick skin around their eyes that protects them from damage.
  • World Penguin Day is also a thing!

The Penguin Life Cycle

penguin life cycle