- SEA LIFE, Penguin Beach
Though they are birds...
- Penguins have flippers instead of wings. They cannot fly and on land, they waddle walking upright—though when snow conditions are right they will slide on their bellies.
- In the water, they are expert swimmers and divers, and some species can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.
- Many people think penguins live in cold places like Antarctica or the South Pole, but only a few types of penguin live that far south
Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park is home to two species of Penguin. At Penguin Island you can find the comical Humboldt Penguins and Fairy penguins - the only colony you will see in Europe!
Bred in Weymouth
Our colony of Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) were mainly bred here in Weymouth, with three coming from a zoo on the Isle Of Wight.
Meet Spruce, he was born on 23rd March to parents Laurel and Cedar. They were unable to feed him after two weeks and Spruce was at a very low weight. The animal care team at the Park intervened and hand-reared him. He has since been reintroduced to the colony with no issues.
- Each penguin at the Park has a different coloured tag to be able to tell them apart. Male penguins have a coloured band on their right-wing and females on their left-wing.
Our "eggcellent" breeding record
- Humboldt penguins are monogamous, meaning they pair for life. They lay between 1-3 eggs per clutch up to twice a year, and both parents take turns incubating the eggs for 39-42 days. The newly hatched chicks remain in the nestbox until they are 15 weeks old and have grown their juvenile waterproof feathers.
- Our penguin colony here at Weymouth has had 13 successful chicks since 2006, and some of the chicks have now joined colonies at our sister SEA LIFE Centres and Sanctuaries at Great Yarmouth, Gweek and Scarborough.
Did you know?
- Penguins have a type of camouflage known as countershading, specifically designed to avoid predators in the water. If you were swimming under a penguin and looked up, their light front would blend with the sunlight on the water surface. If you looked down on a penguin swimming, its dark back would blend in with the ocean depths.
- Penguins are specially evolved for life at sea, so much so they are one of the few birds that cannot fly! This is because they have dense bones that allow them to survive high water pressures when diving.
The world’s smallest penguins
- Fairy Penguins (also known as Little Blue Penguins) are the world’s smallest penguins measuring just over 25cm tall and weighing around 1 kg.
- They are native to New Zealand and Southern Australia, Weymouth was chosen as their new home due to the seaside town’s average summer and winter temperatures being very similar to those experienced by the penguins in their natural habitat.
- Each penguin at the park has a different coloured tag to be able to tell them apart. Male penguins have a coloured band on their right wing and females on their ankle.
Did you know?
- They are the only penguins in the world that can raise more than one set of chicks per year
- They keep their feathers waterproof by rubbing oil that comes from a gland on their tail, all over their bodies
- They moult their feathers once a year, which means that they can't go swimming for a couple of weeks as they won't be able to stay warm in the water
- Adult birds come ashore between May and June to prepare nests. They may waddle up to 1.5km from the sea, and climb 300m to find the perfect nest site