Q:

What makes up a penguin's diet?

A:

Quick Answer

According to About.com, penguins are carnivores with piscivorous diets, and their diet consists mainly of fish, crustaceans and cephalopods. Penguins are opportunistic feeders, and their diet is largely based on what is available seasonally and in a particular location.

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What makes up a penguin's diet?
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Full Answer

Some of the most common fish that penguins prey on include anchovies, sardines, silverfish, cod, lantern fish, sprats and pilchards. Krill, shrimp and crabs are regular eaten by penguins, and squid and cuttlefish are occasionally preyed upon as well.

Penguins forage for food in the ocean, using keen underwater vision and excellent swimming abilities to prey on ocean creatures. Changing ocean patterns and weather conditions can cause changes in penguin's diets. Different species hunt in various ways and places. Some penguins prefer shallow water while others dive deep for their prey. Galapagos penguins usually do their hunting within a mile of their nest, whereas emperor penguins have been known to travel 500 miles or more to forage food for weeks at a time.

In captivity, penguins are fed fish, either chopped or whole, and they are given supplements to keep them healthy. Regular feeding patterns mean that they do not experience weight changes that are common with wild penguins due to long periods of time when food is unavailable.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What do penguins eat?

    A:

    Penguins generally eat fish, squid and krill, though their diet depends on the species. Generally, penguins living close to the equator eat more fish, while penguins in arctic climates rely on squid and krill for sustenance.

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  • Q:

    How much does a penguin weigh?

    A:

    Emperor penguins, the largest species of penguins, weigh between 60 and 90 pounds. The smallest species of penguins, Little Blue penguins, weigh between 2 and 5 pounds. There are 17 different species of penguins in the world.

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  • Q:

    What is a female penguin called?

    A:

    Female and male penguins do not have specific names and are difficult to tell apart. During mating season it may be possible to differentiate the male from the female because the male often leaves muddy footprints on the back of the female after they have finished mating.

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  • Q:

    What is a male penguin called?

    A:

    There is no special word for a male penguin. However, it is technically possible to refer to a male penguin as a "cock," which is the conventional term for males of any bird species. Likewise, "hen" can be used to refer to a female penguin.

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