The Emperor Penguin is the only animal to stay on the Antarctic mainland all year round. When the temperatures plummet during the long dark cold summer, the other animals flee and head for warmer climes. Human beings have lost their lives in the extreme conditions in Antarctica, and penguins do not have access to an online survival store like AngoForro! So, what is it that sets the Emperors apart from the rest and enables them to endure the harshest weather on the planet?
One of the most important survival tools for these amazing birds is their huddles. Penguin huddles are one of the best ways that these birds keep warm and they know the importance of safety in numbers and fantastic at working as a team. The huddles work by constantly changing their arrangement – after all if the penguins stood on the outside remained on the outside, they would freeze to death, so they are always swapping and changing to allow every member of the group access to the warmest part of the huddle right at the centre. Huddles like this reduce the loss of heat by up to 50%.
Emperor penguins also have thick layers of blubber and feathers that specially designed for warmth. The layers of blubber also serve another purpose – they enable the male penguins to survive the harsh winter without eating whilst they are protecting their precious eggs. The layers of feathers are designed like scales, overlapping each other so that no cold is able to get in.
Another design success of the Emperor penguin is the size of its beak and flippers – as they are relatively small, they do not require as much blood which ensures that less heat is lost. The most heat is lost in the extremities and it is the reason that the most common place for a human being to get frost bite is on the feet. Emperor penguins have another adaptation that is unique to them. Their nasal chambers are able to recover most of the heat that is lost through the penguins breathing, a fantastic and ingenious way for these birds to recycle their own body heat.
If all of this sounds like a lot of effort to stay in this dangerous habitat, the penguins have a very good reason for it – being the only ones who stay here gives them an opportunity to raise their chicks, uninterrupted and without the risk of predators, which gives them the best chance in life and ensures their success rate of survival.