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Penguin Point

Did you know?

How long can you hold your breath while grocery shopping? Magellanic penguins can breath-hold for 3-5 minutes, which lets them dive deep for food.

 

Discover penguins

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
These penguins nest and breed in low forests or flat land along the southern coast of South America. But they’re pelagic - they spend most of their lives at sea. Find ours uphill from the Wild Wonders theater.
Plan your day
Meet the Keepers
Getting wet is part of the job.
Did you know that otters sleep wrapped up in kelp? That seals can waddle on land as well as swim? Our keepers often chat while they feed the penguins - keep a look out!
Zookeeper Life: Stephanie

Meet the penguins

Blue
Orange
Purple
Pink
Yellow
Red
White
Maxine
Gryff
Myrtle
Luna
Dwight
Jim
Amy
Rio
Eating
(and predators!)
Magellanic penguins eat seafood: mostly anchovies and sardines, but also cuttlefish, squid and krill.
Predators include giant petrels, foxes, pumas, sea lions, orcas and humans. Chicks and eggs can fall prey to kelp gulls, skuas and more.
Taking turns
to keep the egg warm.
Males attract mates by “braying” like donkeys; when a female responds he walks around her in a circle patting her with his flippers.
Parents take turns incubating the eggs, and newborns stay with parents for a month.
Preening
each other.
About 27 inches tall, Magellanic penguins are about in the middle of the penguin height range.
Mated pairs preen each other and hit bill tips together to bond.

Protecting penguins

Coated by oil, starved by plastic.

THE THREAT: Magellanic penguins face many threats in the wild. Oil spills coat their bodies. Plastic pollution chokes and starves them. Commercial fishing depletes their food, and they themselves are hunted.

TAKE ACTION: Protect our oceans – and their birds – by reducing your use of plastics and fossil fuels. Support wildlife protection laws, and speak up against off-shore drilling.

Marine Stories

Pufflings Are Here!

On a rainy, late-summer morning in Tacoma, keeper Cindy is watching the puffins. She’s drenched, but that’s just part of the job she loves. The “unglamorous” part of keeper life some would say, but Cindy doesn’t mind. On this drizzly day, it’s her responsibility to keep a close eye on the horned puffling (puffin chick) … Continued

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Celebrating Sea Otters

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to three sea otters in the Rocky Shores habitat. Every September, one week is dedicated to bringing awareness to sea otters. Sea otters are endangered, having been hunted nearly to extinction for their thick fur. Now protected, they are still at great risk from oil spill, parasites that … Continued

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Rio & Max, Penguin Buddies

What’s the best way to take your first swim? Well, if you’re a hand-reared penguin chick, you find a penguin buddy. On a hot day in August, penguin chick Rio had his first swim session in a behind-the-scenes pool at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and his buddy was big sister penguin Maxine … Continued

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Who's nearby?
Seen our penguins? Find the rest of the Rocky Shores animals over on the other side of the Zoo, past the Pacific Seas Aquarium. Next to the penguins you’ll find the Discovery Hut.