Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Male emancipation

Its is snowing outside and about -9C. I haven't been out of the house today, I have a roaring fire warming the place and I was wondering what to write about today so I looked up some information on penguins.

The life of the Antartic Emporer Penguin is quite unusual. Penguins have a lot of body fat and a high temperature to keep them warm. That explains why there are so many fat people living up north I suppose, although maybe it is all the clothes we put on when we venture outside.

The female lays only one egg about 60 miles from the ocean which is not good planning because the ocean is the only source of food. Once the egg is laid she leaves the nest, takes the long trip to the ocean and goes on a hunting a fishing vacation.

The father penguin has the job of keeping the egg warm and protecting the egg. Keeping the home fires burning, so to speak. For several months he goes without food as he can't look after the family and go fishing at the same time. While his mate is away he remains with the egg, protecting it from the polar winds, and getting thinner all the time losing a lot of his body weight.

At the precise time the egg finally cracks open, the mother penguin returns to her family and provides the newborn chick with the food she has stored while hunting. However if the chick hatches before the mother's return, the father sits the chick on his feet and covers it with his pouch, feeding it a white milky substance produced by a gland in his esophagus.

Dad then goes off for a short hunting trip and then returns to help take care of the only chick, taking turns with the female every 2 weeks.

Now that sounds like equality of the sexes doesn't it?

2 comments:

crpitt said...

Hello, I love the post and the blog.
My dad is currently looking into a birding trip to the Antarctic, taking in the Galapagos islands aswell, he has already been to Costa Rica but wants a once in lifetime trip before he is 50. I just have to persuade him to take me aswell!
Cheers
Claire

Jacquie said...

I saw the March Of the Penguins and couldn't believe how hard things are for them but a the same time how they manage things so well!