What Animals Eat Penguins?

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Penguins have a variety of predators, including seals, killer whales and sharks. Additionally, birds, foxes and pumas eat penguins when their ranges overlap. Contrary to popular belief, polar bears are not predators of penguins, as polar bears inhabit the northern hemisphere, while penguins inhabit the southern hemisphere.

Regardless of the species, penguin eggs and chicks have many more predators than adults do. The eggs are eaten by a variety of predators, including birds and rats. Many birds feed on chicks, especially species such as skuas, lesser grisons and giant petrels. Magellenic penguin hatchlings are even hunted by large hairy armadillos. Some hatchlings fall prey to snakes, crabs and other small predators. Great white sharks and killer whales are well documented predators of adult penguins. Leopard seals consume even the largest penguin species, while fur and Weddell seals concentrate on slightly smaller species. Sea lions are also important predators of penguins.

The primary way penguins defend themselves from predators is through their social habits, swimming ability and counter-shaded color pattern. Counter-shaded animals are dark dorsally and light ventrally. The dark colors camouflage with the ocean when viewed from above, while the light colors camouflage with the surface of the water, when viewed from below.

Penguins primarily feed on krill, squid and small fish species.