The major factor that determines penguin lifespan is their species. Some penguins live longer while others have shorter lifespans. Other factors that determine penguin lifespan include diet, their habitat, and predators. It’s the natural rule that the fittest among them survives.
The lifespan of Magellanic penguins is thirty years. They are the longest survivors among all penguin species, and therefore have the longest lifespan. On the other hand small blue penguins only live for six years.
The penguins who are removed from the natural environment enjoy the perks of captivity. When in captivity these penguins have direct access to multiple food resources and hence there are fair chances that they will reach into adulthood.
On the other hand, penguins who thrive in their natural settings are always exposed to climate extremes, hunters, predators and therefore these penguins do not live longer in the wild.
Being cute creatures, whenever someone wants them to have penguins as pets, they surely think about their lifespan too. Therefore, we have gathered up all the information regarding the penguin lifespan. As they are exotic pets, there are several things both external and internal which affect their overall lifespan. In this article, we will study all those factors and different lifespans of different penguins.
How long do penguins live?
Penguins’ lifespan depends primarily on their species. Different species will have different lifespans and it also depends on their habitat. The longest lifespan among penguins is Magellanic penguins which have a lifespan of 30 years. Similarly, there are also a penguin species with the shortest lifespan of sic years, yes we are talking about blue penguins here.
Like all other animals, penguins also live well and longer in captivity. As they do not face any kind of threat from predators and health risks which they face in the wild environment. When penguin chicks grow up in captivity there are more chances for them to reach adulthood.
Climate and the penguin lifespan:
It is a very heart drenching fact that we humans are casting such adverse effects on our planet which is causing the change in penguin lifespans. Those penguins which specifically inhibit the oceans, for example, the Emperor penguins. These are found in Antarctica and the Peninsula are facing many severe threats.
As the temperature is increasing due to the global warming effects, the glaciers and the polar caps are melting which is causing habitat destruction for the penguins. Also, no se means no fish which ultimately means no food. These all are the contributing factors that reduce the penguin lifespan.
Global presence of penguins:
Contrary to the thoughts of most people that penguins only inhabit Antarctica, they inhabit diverse habitats as well. These areas are not particularly covered with ice and penguins do survive there too.
Generally, penguins are present on islands and continental regions which have the least threat of predators. As they are not able to fly therefore they have to live in such places where they face minimal threats.
Some species like Adelie and Emperor penguins live in Antarctica and the surrounding areas whereas other species like Macaroni, Rockhopper, and Gentoo also inhabit the sub-antarctic lands. You will find several colonies of penguins on the Falkland Islands and in some areas of South America as well.
Effect of diet on penguin lifespan:
Diet of the penguins depends on their species and also where they live. Smaller penguin species that inhabit the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic lands like Adelie, Gentoo, and Chinstrap. They primarily eat krill and squid as their diet.
Other species that have a presence in the North like Galapagos, African, Humboldt, and African penguins compose larger amounts of fish.
Life cycle of penguins
Besides their inability to fly, these semi-aquatic creatures are able to live in diverse habitats ranging from Tropics to Tundra. The life cycle of penguins is very interesting and complex, particularly the Emperor penguins. Emperor penguins are among those creatures that can even breed in the frosting environment of Antarctica.
Emperor penguin babies:
Emperor penguins are the largest and the heaviest penguins among all the penguin species. Their babies weigh around eleven ounces when they are born. For comparison, the smallest penguin, blue penguin when fully mature is equal to the size of newborn Emperor penguin.
Birth of the chicks:
The chicks of the emperor penguins are born in the most harsh winters in the world, the winters of Antarctica. During these winters, the temperature can easily drop to minus a hundred degrees.
As they are not properly mature (born without feathers) when they are born, their parents have to take the responsibility to keep them warm. For this purpose, the male and female emperor penguins have a pocket between their legs called the “Breeding pouch”. They use this for keeping the baby warm until it mature properly, after forty-five days.
All species of the penguins are social, not just those that live in the cold areas. They may scatter in the summers but they have to stick together in winters to survive the low temperatures.
Surprisingly, the male penguin has specific glands for feeding “milk” to the young ones when their mothers are away searching for food. Only pigeons, flamingos and penguins can produce this particular milk.
On the return of the mother, the father carefully puts the chick in her pouch and then the mother feeds the regurgitated fish to the chick. Once the chicks are mature, they leave the breeding pouch and join other chicks of the colony and form a group called “creche”.
After some time or few months, the babies develop into adult penguins with full feathers. After they are mature, they are no more dependent on their parents. The chicks have to wait for their feathers to come in so that they can go into the sea and hunt.
Penguins do cute dances while they attract the females by doing tap dances and bobbing their heads. If the male finds him attractive, they form a pair and mate.
Females only lay one egg at a time. Unlike other birds, which lay their eggs in nests or trees, emperor penguins do not have such facilities. The temperature is freezing therefore the female has to transfer the egg into the breeding pouch of the male as soon as she lays it. The process is complex because the newborn egg is fragile though it’s thick. The female carefully does the process. After transferring the egg she goes for sea, usually when she returns the egg is hatched.
Among all creatures, the emperor penguin lifespan and life cycle is the most complex one. Because the environment and temperature both are very harsh.
How long can penguins survive?
The lifespan of penguins is dependent upon their species mainly and also on external conditions. Their lifespan differs for different species. However, due to increasing temperature changes and
climate/habitat destruction, the penguin lifespan is decreasing drastically. However, they live more in captivity, provided with all necessary environment and diet.
The largest penguin, Magellanic penguins have a lifespan of 30 years. On the other hand, the lifespan of blue penguins or fairy penguins is just six years.
How long do penguins live in captivity?
To answer this typical question what is a penguin lifespan? or How long will it live? is difficult. Because it depends. For that, you have to study all species, follow several penguins, watch them grow. Most of the juveniles die and a few only reach adulthood. Therefore, they are all average ages which we find on the internet.
For the general rule of thumb, researchers and scientists believe that the average lifespan of a penguin is about fifteen to twenty years. However, the penguin lifespan in captivity increases because they do not have any potential threats. Their owners provide them with the best nutritionally balanced diet. They do not bear temperature calamities and much more. In captivation, penguins are safe from all their direct and indirect predators.
However, to tell for how long they live in the wild is complex. In 1940 a study was made by Lance Richdale and his companions. They studied a group of yellow-eyed penguins in the wild. He saw most of the chicks surviving. So we can say that the average penguin lifespan is fifteen years or more.
In captivation, penguins do not face hunger if there are no more fish in a certain habitat. They do not have predators in captivity. So they live more in captivation instead of in the wild.
Penguin lifespan in the wild
Species play an important role in determining the lifespan of penguins. Generally, it is believed that larger penguin species will live more while the smaller species will have a shorter lifespan.
Penguin’s lifespan in the wild is low as compared to when they live in captivity. The wildlife has several threats and to the penguins, the greatest threat is the temperature. Due to global warming and climate changes their habitat is diminishing greatly.
Moreover, the daily hunt for food, predators, and breeding problems cause their lifespan in the wild to below. However, the average lifespan of penguins is fifteen to twenty years.
King penguin lifespan
King penguins are the second-largest penguins after Emperor penguins. They are unique with their bright colors, long beaks, and a streamlined body.
King penguin Appearance:
King penguins have black feathers on their bodies while they have white feathers on their chest. Orange and yellow feathers cover their ears.
King penguin Habitat:
King penguins inhabit several areas of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions. They resemble greatly with the emperor penguins, but the emperor penguins do not have these colorations on their bodies.
King penguin Diet:
The main diet of the king penguin is mainly aquatic and consists of fish, krill, and squid. They are the main prey for the leopard seals. King penguins breed only one time in three years.
King penguin Lifespan:
King penguins are large hence they have a greater lifespan than other penguins. In the wild, they live for almost twenty-six years while in captivity they can live for forty-one years.
African penguin lifespan
The African penguins differ a bit from other penguins in appearance. They have back colour on their backs but their chests have white feathers with black spots on the upper portion. Pink color is also present above their eyes and the color becomes more intense as they mature.
African penguin Habitat:
African penguins are present away from the shores primarily on islands. They come to the seashores when they have to breed, molt, or locate food.
African penguin Diet:
Like all other penguins african penguins also eat fish. Sardines and anchovy are their primary diet.
African penguin Breeding:
They breed as the month of may approach, and it continues till August. Breeding takes place at rocky or uneven areas with zero plantation.they prefer nesting substrates as compared to building the nests. The gunao nesting substrate is their favorite.
African penguin Lifespan:
African penguins have a lifespan of twenty years in the wild.
Crested penguin lifespan
Crested penguins appear like they are wearing eye masks and going to a costume party. However, they have black feathers on the back with white chests. Yellow crest sprouts from their eyes.
Crested penguin Habitat:
Crested penguins are present in cold regions and they surround the marine areas for food. They breed on New Zealand’s bounty and on the islands.
Crested penguin Breeding patterns:
Crested penguins do not live alone, they are very social and live in large colonies with other animals including Albatrosses, and rockhopper penguins. They lay two eggs. One is discarded whereas the other egg is bigger in size and it hatches to form a new young one.
Crested penguin Feeding:
Crested penguins eat primarily krill and squid along with some small-sized fishes.
Fairy penguin lifespan
The blue penguin or fairy penguins are the smallest penguins in the world. The size of adults of these species is equal to the newborn Emperor penguin.
The lifespan of a blue or fairy penguin is only six years in the wild. However, in captivity, they live more almost for 10 years. As they are smaller species of penguins they do not have much-extended lifespan.
Adelie penguin lifespan
These penguins are not too large and not too small rather they are medium-sized penguins. They are easy to identify by the white circles which surround their eyes. The size of males and females is not different therefore it is hard to differentiate the gender. Adelie penguins are great swimmers and can walk great distances even on the cold ice. These penguins resemble much with chinstrap and gentoo penguins.
The chicks are not able to get back to the colony unless they are mature enough. This process takes almost three or five years. The lifespan of the Adelie penguins is almost ten to twenty years.