Sunday, October 2, 2011

FAQ: Where do the penguins sleep at night?

To a human the six fiberglass islands in the penguin exhibit don’t look very comfortable, but to a penguin they are heaven. But you still may wonder, “Where and how do the penguins go to sleep at night?”

Penguin islands

The penguins stay on exhibit overnight and sleep right on the islands. They can even sleep while floating in the water. During a visit to the Aquarium you might catch a glimpse of the penguins taking naps during the day. They can sleep either lying down or standing up on the rocks and sometimes when they are standing up they will tuck the beak under the wings.

Asleep laying down

Asleep standing up

That’s not a headless penguin; he just has his head tucked behind his wing.

When it’s time for the lights to go off we even simulate sunrise and sunset. The exhibit lights are on a timer so they turn on and off at designated times of the day based on local sunrise and sunset times. This is called a photoperiod. The penguin exhibit day lengths vary depending on the season (longer days in the summer and shorter days in the winter). This helps the penguins maintain a healthy life cycle that will cue them into their breeding and molting seasons. {link to breeding and molting blogs}

Pleasant dreams!

- Andrea

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