CREATURES OF ANTARCTICA
and Emperor Penguins
The Ade`le penguin's body is well suited to the ocean life. In water it's flipper like wings act like paddles. While most birds bones are hollow, penguin's are solid, giving them added weight so they can dive. Their oily feathers provide the birds with water tight coats. Violent Antarctic storms and the ocean waves don't bother this creature as it swims in its natural home among the icebergs and ice flows. If the water at the surface becomes too rough, the Ade`le Penguin moves to calmer waters below the surface. Though penguins rarely get cold in Antarctica, it sometimes gets too hot. When it becomes too hot it must fluff its coat to get cooler when it does that it controls its body temperature. When a penguin nears land it swims under the water and pops onto the land like a Jack-in-the-box. The 4 foot (more than a meter long) Emperor penguin also lives in Antarctica. This large bird may weigh up to 8 pounds (36 kilograms). It raises it young during the coldest part of the year WITHOUT BUILDING A NEST!!!!!
The female penguin lays one green egg. Then the male protects the egg while the female waddles to the ocean to feed. If the egg is left without the father sitting on it, the egg would freeze in about 1 minute. The male Emperor penguin does not eat during the 2 months. When the egg hatches the mother comes back with food and takes over nursery duties while the father goes to the ocean to feed.
Seals and Whales
There are several kinds of seals that live in the Antarctic. The Waddle seal is the worlds southernmost mammal. It can get up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length and 1,000 LB.. (454 kilograms) in weight. The Waddle seal has a remarkable ability to live on and under the Antarctic ice. It feeds underwater and it can stay under for 45 minutes before it has to come to the surface to breath. It keeps its breathing hole open by using them all the time and by sawing them open with its front teeth when the holes begin to freeze over. Waddle seal pups are born with fluffy tan fur. If a pup's coat gets wet, the moisture freezes almost immediately and falls off as ice crystals. That way the pup stays dry. In a warmer area, where the moisture does not freeze so rapidly the pup might easily become chilled and DIE!
the Antarctic seals, the Leopard seal is the most feared predator. This
12 foot (3.7- meter) long hunter lurks under the ice shelves waiting for
penguins to swim by. With a sudden burst of speed, it grabs the smaller
animal in the water or on the edge of the ice. If it can't get a penguin
it will kill another seal. A Leopard seal is a faster runner than a man
on rough ice. Several kinds of whales, including the Fin, Blue, and
Humpback, swim in Antarctic waters. The Killer whale, which is more closely
related to dolphins than whales, also hunts penguins. This creature moves
through the ocean near the edge of the ice. While it will chase penguins
beneath the waters surface, the penguins often get away from the whale
by leaping out of the water and onto the ice. Of all the creatures
of Antarctica, the penguin may be the best adapted to survive in the cold
and dangerous environment. So remember, Polar Bears Don't Live In Antarctica!!!!!
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