Nine adorable penguin chicks have hatched at the zoo and keepers have named them after their favourite fruits!

The first of the Humboldt penguins – Plum – emerged from its egg and has since been joined by eight others, including Peach, Papaya, Cherry and Rhubarb.

Weighing in at a teeny 80g when they hatch, penguin chicks triple in size in their first three weeks of life and quickly reach around 3kg, just like their parents.

After spending a few weeks tucked away in their nests being cared for by their attentive parents, our tiny youngsters have now begun swimming lessons. See if you can spot them learning this valuable life skill on your next visit to the zoo. But be quick – they don’t stay little for long!

 

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“There’s nothing quite like hearing tiny chirps coming from the penguin nests and seeing little balls of fluff snuggled up with their parents just moments after hatching.”

Sophie Bissaker, Parrots and Penguins Keeper

Sophie continued to say:

“Zookeepers have a trend of naming the penguins using a different theme each year and previously we’ve had brands of crisps, chocolate bars and in 2020, our NHS Heroes. After some serious thought, we’ve decided to name this year’s class after different types of fruit! Among them we have Plum, Banana, Lemon and Iona-Berry, in honour of the vet who saved dad Munch’s eyesight last year.

“They’ve just started to venture out of the nest which is such an exciting time. Now they’re starting swimming lessons in the main pool, where they’ll learn how to catch food for themselves.”

In a few weeks the youngsters will shed their fluffy grey down to reveal their iconic black and white feathers underneath. These are waterproof and help them ZOOOOM through the water!

Found on the rocky coastal shores of Peru and Chile, Humboldt penguins are one of the world’s most endangered penguin species. They are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and face a number of threats including climate change, over-fishing, and rising acidity and temperature levels in the oceans. That’s why births like this are so important for our ongoing mission to prevent extinction.

Did you know that penguins can see better underwater than they can on land?! This makes it easier for them to catch food.

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