Posted by: Green Knight | January 20, 2013

Penguin Day

National Penguin Awareness Day (U.S.) is today! I wasn’t aware that there were 17 species; that’s more than I would have guessed. The old Bloom County comic strip always had Opus the penguin being terrified of polar bears, even though they live on opposite poles of the globe. Leopard seals, on the other hand, snack on penguins as appetizers. Either way, their habitat, like that of polar bears, is threatened by climate change.

Penguins live in more regions than just the Antarctic. They’re also found on islands off South Africa and Tierra del Fuego, as well as the Galápagos, famous due to Darwin and the Beagle. My cousin Diane lives in Ecuador, and their stewardship of those islands is noteworthy, and I salute it.

The penguins at the St. Louis Zoo live in a chilly climate-controlled environment, but they like to hop out of their tanks and wander amongst the patrons. I haven’t petted one yet, because I wasn’t sure if it was allowed, but next time perhaps I will. Maybe I’ll smuggle in some sardines, too. I used to feed the river otters doggie treats when the staff wasn’t looking.

The Environmental Defense Fund has some cool penguin pics at

With apologies to Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, for many years I’ve been reversing their lyrics to “birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly,” hence the photos of a Humboldt penguin and a flying fish. I even have a photo of a flying squid, but I’ll save that for some later post.

Humboldt penguinflying fish





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