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The Perilous Life of Baby Penguins

Life for baby penguins can be challenging. These egg-shaped birds often have difficult childhoods as they face the cold tundras of Antarctica.

Female penguins typically lay one or two eggs. If two are laid, it is likely that one will not survive unless there is enough food to feed them both. By the time the second chick hatches, the first chick is already strong and the parents tend to the first baby more. This leaves the second chick unattended, which often results in death.

In the beginning stages of their life, they do not resemble their parents. Since baby penguins are still underdeveloped, they need extra warmth. Their feathers are not thick enough to keep them warm and so their parents must wrap around their chicks skin to skin to keep them warm. If not well taken care of, the chicks will die.

Baby chicks stay in groups called nurseries, or crèches, when their parents are away finding food. They stay close together to keep their warmth. In order to protect them, a few adult penguins stay to scare away predators. Baby chicks have a layer of fat which keeps them alive without food for multiple days since their parents can be gone for weeks searching for food in the ocean.

Life for a penguin is never easy. The weather can be difficult for adult penguins to successfully raise their babies. It's important for them to stick together in order to conserve heat.

[Source: 100 Things You Should Know About Penguins]

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