Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium announced the recent hatching of two African Penguin chicks. The chicks hatched on February 1 and February 10 and are growing quickly. The younger chick weighs 281 grams, and the older chick weighs 696 grams, demonstrating the exponential growth seen in the first few weeks of a Penguin chick’s life.
During the first 40 days of life, Penguin chicks cannot maintain their body heat, so they stay warm by tucking underneath their parents. When the very vocal chicks announce that they’re hungry, mom and dad oblige by offering food. Once the chicks are weaned at about 50 days old, keepers will begin training the chicks to accept food from their hands. You can watch all the action on the aquarium’s African Penguin webcam.
The chicks will fledge at 75 to 100 days of age. At that time, their fluffy down will be replaced with the brown and white feathers of juvenile Penguins, and they’ll be introduced to the 26 adult Penguins in the flock. The chicks’ genders will be determined using a DNA test when they’re about six months old.
African Penguins are an endangered species, and their breeding is managed by the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
See more photos below the fold.