How do penguins stay warm?

Penguins living in cold climates stay warm thanks to their thick feathers and blubber under the skin. Feathers are great on land, but not much help for keeping warm in the cold ocean. This is where the blubber layer comes in.

One more query we ran across in our research was “How do penguins keep warm in the winter?”.

There are arteries in the penguins’ legs that are able to adjust blood flow to the feet based on temperature. The arteries restrict blood flow when it’s colder, meaning less blood has to travel through the cold feet, helping to keep the penguin warm .

Emperor penguins breed in the coldest environment of any species, where the temperature reaches as low as -40 C. Their first line of defense that keeps them warm is their plumage which provides 80-90% insulation. Below the feathers, there is a sub-dermal fat layer with a thick up to 3 cm.

We a variety of penguins have developed behaviours that enable them to keep their feet warm. For example, Emperor Penguins hunch down so their bellies and feathers cover their legs, and they also rock back and forth onto their heels to lift their feet off the ice, therefore reducing contact time on the ground.

Why do penguins lose heat so quickly?

During the low temperatures inside the ocean, the flow of blood to the flippers and sea is quite low for decreasing the loss of heat. As soon as the penguin requires losing heat rapidly, the warm blood moves to these boundaries in large quantities that cool quickly before removing the extra heat fast and powerfully.

How do penguins lose their body heat?

After vigorous swimming and on warm days, for example, blood vessels in the penguin’s feet dilate (expand), allowing blood flow to increase, which in turn facilitates heat loss from the body. Penguins that become too warm may lie on the ground with their feet in the air and flippers out to their sides to speed heat loss.

Why do penguins need to be active in Antarctica?

Penguins must remain active while in water to generate body heat. Unlike other warm blooded Antarctic marine animals such as seals and whales, penguins are still relatively small, so the “be big” strategy is not taken as far as needed to remain warm even at rest in the sea as in seals and whales.

One of the next things we asked ourselves was; why do penguins need feet to survive?

But they need their feet so they can walk around the icy surface without slipping, and also so they can steer themselves when swimming. A variety of penguins have developed behaviours that enable them to keep their feet warm .

How do the back Penguins move?

The back penguins move toward the middle, while the middle penguins move outward. One way penguins stay warm is through a thermal convection process. For example, emperor penguins’ feathers help to move warmer air toward their bodies. In addition, the low temperature of emperor penguins’ feathers helps to insulate.

How do Penguin legs work?

Secondly, penguin legs work like a heat exchange system ; blood vessels to and from the feet are narrow and woven closely together, which cools the blood from the body on the way to the feet and vice versa when the blood returns to the body.