It’s practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.”

Joe Moore, Celebrity

All Penguin Facts & Stats you have to know

Penguins are quite interesting animals.

Although almost everyone on our planet knows them, there is actually quite little known by the general public on their behavior and their characteristics.

In this article, all important stats and facts regarding penguins are listed.

List of the most important Penguin Stats and Facts

  • There are only 17 -20 penguin species living on our planet, depending on the source and the methodology used for declaration purposes.
  • Penguins are quite fast swimmers. Their speed is usually between 5 and 10 mph. However, they can reach a top speed of up to 22 mph!
  • The fastest of all penguin species is the Gentoo penguin.
  • The average lifespan of a penguin lies between 15 and 20 years, depending on the species.
  • In order to be able to raise their chicks, penguins come ashore.
  • The smallest penguin species is the little penguin, ranging from 12 to 16 inches (30-40 cm).
  • The biggest penguin species is the emperor penguin, which can reach a height of up to 48 inches (122 cm).
  • While emperor penguins can weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kg), little penguins only weigh around 2 pounds (1kg).
  • Scientists estimate that extinct ancestors of penguins reached a height of up to 70 inches (around 180 cm).
  • While some sources cite that the emperor penguin dived 1,850 feet (564 meters), their maximum diving capacity is usually around 1,000 feet (305 meters).
  • Most of the penguins usually only dive in a range from 16 – 65 feet (5 to 20 meters).
  • Penguins can hold their breath up to 20 minutes while diving.
  • Penguins mainly feed on fishes, krill and squids.
  • Contrary to beliefs, penguins do not have any teeth.
  • Penguins lose all of their feathers every year. During this time, they are unable to swim, which may cause difficulties for them as they also cannot fish due to that.
  • The name penguin comes from an unrelated bird species “great auk”, which is already extinct.
  • Penguins are actually birds but don’t have wings. They have flippers instead.
  • Penguins are unable to fly.
  • In order to keep them warm in winter, penguins have many layers of feathers to protect against the cold.
  • Penguins are masters in controlling their blood flow. Once part of their body becomes too cold, they pump warm water in those parts in order to warm them up.
  • In order to be able to count penguin populations, satellite pictures are used.
  • Like for the human race, there are also gay penguins around in the animal world.
  • Their biggest enemies penguins have to watch out for are leopard seals, killer whales and sea lions.
  • The closest relatives of penguins are albatrosses, divers and petrels.
  • Penguins can drink saltwater as well as freshwater in order to survive. Excessive salt will be excreted by the penguin’s organism.
  • In order to be able to recognize their mating partner, each penguin has a specific unique sound frequency which it can use to gather with its partner and differentiate him from other penguins around.
  • Most of the penguin species live on the South Pole or Antarctica, while all of them, apart from the Galapagos penguin, live in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Don’t confuse Arctic with Antarctica. Penguins don’t live at the North Pole!
  • In order to reach higher initial speed, penguins often jump out of the water before they dive.
  • Although it might not be intuitive at first glance when you see penguins out of the water, they are perfectly disguised while swimming. Their white belly disguises them from predators below them, while their black back fits in the water surface and protects them from predators above them.
  • While it is true that some penguin species mate for life, there are also other species that don’t. Quite similar to humans one might say 😉.
  • Penguins produce oil that makes them resistant against the cold water and also more agile underwater.
  • It is estimated that the average penguin colony varies from 200,000 to 500,000 individuals.
  • While some penguin species prefer to stay on land, there are also some species that spend up to 80% of their lifetime in the water.
  • The penguins’ body is built to dive and sink easily, as their bones are not hollow like for many other birds, but they rather have dense bones which make them quite heavy.
  • Instead of walking, penguins often move with their belly on the ice. It is not fully clear why they do it, but scientists estimate that it might be a faster way to move on ice compared to walking.
  • Penguins are usually quite trustful towards humans. This is probably learned behavior since most of their predators are underwater and they feel safe on land.
  • In cold times, penguins are not reluctant to get closer to each other. In fact, they use each other’s body temperature to warm and protect against the cold.
  • Small penguins only have a fluff of feathers. It takes a while to develop a dense feather costume.
  • Even Google named an algorithm update about this famous animal, called Penguin-update. You can see from this that not only are penguins popular around nature lovers, but also in the tech world!


About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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