Penguins | Short Reads

Would you put on your bathing suit and jump into icy water? Would you slide down a snowy hill on your bare stomach? Imagine how cold that would feel! You would freeze. Penguins, however, do this all the time. Penguins swim in cold water. They slide on their bellies over ice and snow.

WHAT ARE PENGUINS?

Penguins are birds. They have wings, but they cannot fly. Instead, they use their wings as flippers to paddle in water. They also paddle with their webbed feet. Penguins are very good swimmers.

Penguins have long, barrel-shaped bodies. They have short legs and can stand upright. Penguins standing up look a little like people at a fancy party. Penguins have dark backs and white breasts that make them look like men in tuxedos.

Penguins have a funny waddle when they walk on land. They cannot waddle very fast. When they are on ice or snow, penguins act like they are sledding or tobogganing. They lie on their stomachs and paddle forward with their wings. Penguins would rather swim than move about on land.

WHERE DO PENGUINS LIVE?

Most penguins live close to Antarctica, in the southern part of the world. The Adélie penguin and the emperor penguin live right on the ice of the Antarctic continent. Some penguins live on the southern coast of New Zealand or nearby islands. A few kinds of penguins live in warmer regions near the coasts of South America, southern Africa, and Australia. Penguins in warmer places need to swim in cold ocean currents to find food.

WHAT KEEPS PENGUINS WARM?

Penguins have short, stiff feathers. The feathers overlap and form a waterproof coat that keeps the birds dry. Some penguins have another layer of downy feathers for extra warmth. Penguins also have a thick layer of fat called blubber.

WHAT DO PENGUINS EAT?

Penguins love seafood and only eat when they are in the water. They swim near the water’s surface watching for fish, squid, and crustaceans such as crabs or shrimp. When a penguin spots something good for dinner, it dives after it.

Scientists have learned that penguins are fantastic divers. The scientists put special equipment on some penguins. They measured how deep the penguins dived for food and how long the dive lasted. An emperor penguin can dive deeper than 1,600 feet (500 meters). That distance is almost the same as 2½ city blocks! Some emperor penguin dives can last as long as 20 minutes. The penguin has to hold its breath the entire time.

Penguins take flying leaps out of the water to breathe. These leaps are called porpoising because a leaping penguin looks like a porpoise. Sometimes penguins leap to get away from seals, sea lions, or killer whales. These animals like to eat penguins.

DO PENGUINS HAVE FAMILIES?

Male and female penguins form couples to raise young penguins. Some penguin couples stay together for years. When it is time to breed, the penguins gather on land in groups called colonies. A colony of penguins can have thousands of birds.

Some penguins build nests and lay two eggs at a time. The female emperor penguin lays one egg. The male penguin puts the egg on top of its feet and uses its belly to cover the egg and keep it warm. Both parents in other penguin species take turns keeping the eggs warm.

Baby chicks that hatch out of the egg have only a thin layer of down. The parents use their bodies to keep newborn chicks warm. Later, the chicks form groups while the parents go off to find food.

Penguin parents feed their chicks for 20 to 30 days. By that time, the chicks have grown feathers and can find their own food. In a year or two, they come back to the colony to find mates and breed. Penguins live as long as 20 years.

Are you serious about building your vocabulary?

Crossword Puzzle Vocabulary Building 10-Book Series

Check out my vocabulary building book series.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Want more like this post?

Aztec Empire | Short Reads

Aztec Empire | Short Reads

Hundreds of years ago, a towering temple stood at the center of what is now Mexico City. This Great Temple was a symbol of the power of the Aztec Empire—an empire that stretched across much of Mexico.

Bicycles | Short Reads

Bicycles | Short Reads

Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around. Bicycles are quiet, fun to ride, and you don’t need gas or electricity to make them go. You just use the power of your legs!
Bicycles have two wheels. One wheel is in front of the other. You swing your leg over the bike, sit down, and start pedaling.

Mississippi River | Short Reads

Mississippi River | Short Reads

The Mississippi River is the most important river in North America. It provided a major highway for early explorers of North America. Many cities grew up along it. Furs and farm goods traveled from these settlements down the river to markets. Today, more freight travels on the Mississippi than on any other waterway within the continent.

Geronimo | Short Reads

Geronimo | Short Reads

Geronimo was a leader of the Apache Indians. He belonged to an Apache group known as the Chiricahua. In the 1870s, the United States government tried to force the Chiricahua off their homelands and onto reservations. Geronimo fought back.

Plate Tectonics | Short Reads

Plate Tectonics | Short Reads

Stand very still. You may think you are not moving, but the ground may be moving ever so slightly under your feet. The ground you are standing on is part of Earth’s crust. The crust is the solid surface or outer, rocky layer of Earth. Pieces of Earth’s crust are always slowly slipping and sliding around. The idea that pieces of Earth’s crust move is called the theory of plate tectonics.

Orchestra | Short Reads

Orchestra | Short Reads

The sound of an orchestra playing is a thrilling experience. An orchestra is a group of musicians who play musical instruments. Some orchestras have more than 100 musicians. Yet when they play together, the orchestra sounds like one mighty musical instrument.

Gravity | Short Reads

Gravity | Short Reads

Try to jump as high as you can. Bend your knees. Now jump! No matter how hard you try, or how high you jump, you always come back down again.
Something called gravity pulls you back down. Gravity holds you down on Earth. Without gravity, you would fly off into space. You would jump up and just keep on going. That might sound like fun, but you could not live very high up. For one thing, you need to breathe air. The higher you go, the less air there is. You need gravity to keep you down on Earth.

Sheep | Short Reads

Sheep | Short Reads

Remember Mary’s little lamb? It followed her everywhere. Lambs follow their mothers. If a newborn lamb loses its mother, it will form a bond with a human being who adopts it. Just like Mary’s lamb, it will try to tag after its human parent. Lambs are baby sheep.

Socrates | Short Reads

Socrates | Short Reads

What is love? What is truth? What is justice? Socrates, a philosopher in ancient Greece, asked big questions like these and tried to make people think.
Socrates was born in Athens, Greece, in 469 bc. He devoted his life to philosophy. He taught students, made speeches, and debated with anyone who would listen to him.

Bears | Short Reads

Bears | Short Reads

Imagine sticking your nose in the air and sniffing the smell of a hamburger cooking a mile away. Some bears can do just that. Bears have a keen sense of smell. They use this sense to help them find food. Bears are meat eaters, or carnivores. But most bears also eat fruits, nuts, and other foods. Bears live in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. They do not live in Africa, Australia, or Antarctica.

English Plus Bites

Are You Hungry?


Daily English Plus Bites are just a couple of clicks away...

Sign up and start receiving daily short learning emails which include idioms, reading, word power, common mistakes, grammar and more.


Unlock a world of learning delivered daily to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest