February 3, 2023
Today’s blog is more content-related than a description of our day. We are happy that some students and teachers are following us on this blog. We want to thank the student in Ms. Branin’s 3rd grade class at Riverbank Elementary School in the Washington Unified School District for giving us the idea of sharing this travel experience!
Did you know Penguin poop is pink? It’s true! Penguins eat lots of krill (which are red) and fish. The more krill they eat, the pinker their poop is. Less krill and more fish create almost white poop. As we looked for penguins on our expeditions, the color of the ice could alert you that penguins are nearby. Antarctic ice can also appear green due to the existence of microscopic snow algae in the snow.
Penguins are some of the most frequent "poopers" in the animal kingdom; they go about every 20 minutes. Frequent pooping is due to their fast metabolism. The poop is smelly, and since penguins walk in it all the time, penguins are also smelly. And a final fun fact – penguins can projectile poop up to 4 feet.
All penguins live in the southern hemisphere. There are 28 types of penguins (18 species) but only 8 live on Antarctica. Unfortunately, many penguin species are threatened or endangered, possibly due to the loss of habitat that is occurring because of the melting of the Antarctic ice.
We have seen three types of penguins so far on our trip – Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo. Some of the others are the well-known King and Emperor penguins, and less common Rockhopper and Macaroni penguins.
Adelies can be identified by their reddish bill with the black tip, and the white ring around the eye.
Chinstraps can be identified by their smaller size and the thin black line that goes from under one eye, under the chin, and up to the other eye.
Gentoos can be identified by a white stripe across their head from eye to eye, a reddish-orange bill and a longer, more prominent tail.
ROCKHOPPER AND MACARONI penguins can be identified by the bright yellow crests on their head. The Macaroni is larger than the Rockhopper. We have not seen the Macaroni or Rockhopper so far on this expedition.
KING and EMPEROR
They are known for orange and yellow ear patches. The King penguin has an orange beak.
Model penguins were displayed on the Viking Polaris Expedition Ship.