All the reasons super-tiny penguins are our latest obsession
We’ve fallen in love, you guys. Hard. And the object of our affection is Eudyptula minor, which translates as “little penguin.”
Yes, that’s actually the scientific name for these teeny guys: Little penguin. Earlier this month, 24 of these little penguins moved into the Bronx Zoo in New York City, and they just might be the most precious things we’ve ever seen. As their name might suggest, little penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world. They’re native to Australia and New Zealand. Are we jealous that people Down Under get to hang out with teeny tiny penguins? A little. OK, a lot.
The little penguins at the Bronx Zoo were hatched at a zoo in Sydney. So how are they adapting now that they’re New Yorkers? Jim Breheny, the director of the Bronx Zoo, told The New York Times, “The little penguins are acclimating well to their new home and are quite a sight to see.”
Quite a sight, indeed! In case it’s not obvious, here are all the reasons why super-tiny penguins are now our newest obsession . . .
This is what they look like when they’re babies. Cuter than a stuffed animal. Just saying.
Fully grown, they weigh under three pounds. That’s less than the world’s smallest cat, Mr. Peebles.
P.S. This is Mr. Peebles, the smallest cat in the known cosmos. (This probably goes without saying, but he is not a penguin.)
Little penguins stand at only 13 inches tall. That’s less than two inches taller than a Barbie doll.
They would totally beat you in a swimming race. The average little penguin swims about six times faster than a person. Look out, Michael Phelps.
They are sometimes called ‘fairy penguins.’ I know. I know. This sounds too cute to be true. But really, they are.
They’re also known as ‘little blue penguins,’ or just ‘blue penguins.’ My, what beautiful blue feathers you have!
Their cable knit sweater game is on point.
In 2001, an oil spill off the southern coast of Australia threatened the lives of a colony of 438 little penguins. A penguin that has come in contact with oil will usually try to preen itself and clean the oil off its feathers. This is super dangerous because, according to the Phillip Island Penguin Foundation, “a patch of oil the size of a thumbnail can kill a little penguin.” The solution? Tiny wool penguin sweaters!
The sweaters prevent penguins from ingesting any oil matted onto their feathers. They also keep the tiny little guys warm (“oiled”penguins are at risk for hypothermia), but since wool is a breathable natural fiber, the penguins don’t get overheated. The fact that they look super adorbs is merely an added bonus.
Occasionally, they channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw and rock a pair of shoes. This is Elvis, a rescue fairy penguin, wearing a pair of special, custom-made penguin shoes.
Penguins in captivity can sometimes develop callouses. When that happens, they’re treated to salt water footpaths (penguin pedis, anyone?) and designer footwear with light rubber soles. Elvis’ shoes were made for him by the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. They deserve mad props for giving a rescue penguin such ‘happy feet.’ Get it?
Fairy penguins are born romantics. Most little penguins form lifelong partnerships with their mates. Just look at these two! They look like they’re slow-dancing to a Sam Smith ballad. Oh, won’t you staaaaay with me? Cause you’re alllll I need . . .
The noises they make are beyond adorable. Little penguins are super vocal! They might be tiny, but they can be quite loud. And their vocalizations sound almost like cooing or really (and I do mean really) loud kitty purrs. Give them a listen here.
Welcome to New York, little guys.