What Animals Eat Penguins

Like every living being, penguins are also in the food chain, where they are eaten by some animals for their living. So, the adorable penguins are not exceptional. The predators of penguins vary from region to region.

When they are on land they have a different group which preys on them and when they are in the ocean they are food for marine animals. Mostly in the target of the predators, the sick and infant penguins are mostly attracted.

Penguins live in the Southern region in the Antarctic, Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands. In these regions the penguins are threatened by the marine predators as well as land predators in some regions, also few birds can feed on penguins.

In this page, let us see elaborately about the animals that eat penguins in the land and the ocean.

Marine Mammals that Eat Penguins:

The marine mammals which feed on penguins include killer whales called orcas, shark, leopard seals, fur seals, and sea lions. The sharp-toothed mammals are mainly the threat in the marine life of penguins.

Orcas:

Orca
Orca

Orcas is a sharp-toothed whale species which come under the dolphin family. They are found in the Arctic and also Antarctic areas. The orcas not only feed on penguins and other fishes but also, mammals such as seals, dolphins and baleen whales, which at times lie in the menu of these giants.

The killer whales orcas cannot be preyed on by other animals in the ocean. Penguins stay as a small portion of the killer whales’ diet.

Researchers have found that the killer whales also had the leftovers of their species in their stomach, concluding the fact of scavenging.

Not every whale feed on penguins. There are whales with no proper teeth such as baleen whales don’t prey penguins.

Orcas (Killer whales)

Seals as Predators:

Seal
Seal

The leopard seal is said to be the second biggest threat for penguins after the killer whales. The large leopard seal eats the penguins and other marine animals and fishes.

Seals often make the loud noise in which the penguins start worrying and tend to prepare for the escape. They may be underneath the ice shelve and jump to reach the penguins on land to make the meal.

The small leopard seal eats fishes and other small creatures in the marine and cannot eat penguins. The leopard seals can easily catch the Adelie and Gentoo penguins.

Leopard seal

Threat on Land:

The predators on land include rats, cats, dogs, foxes, weasels, snakes and lizards. The predators depend on the place the where the penguins are habitual.

Leopard is one of the threats for the African penguins along with the Tasmanian Devil, which resembles a small black bear.

Magellanic penguins are threatened by the armadillos, which usually eye on the eggs and chicks.

The reptiles and few small land animals target the eggs and the chicks most often when compared to the adult penguins.

Birds that Prey on Penguins on Land:

Skuas and Petrels are the most common birds that are said to be penguins’ predators.

Skuas are also called as predatory gulls. They usually prey on chicks. Since they are dreaded they cannot attack a penguin solely, they unite and try to defeat the Penguins.

Skuas have the tactics to work in a group or two so that they can reach the eggs and find their food. They have the habit of diverting the parent penguin away from the nest and try to grab the eggs or chicks.

Gentoo Penguin guards its chick from Brown Skuas

Sheathbills are not stronger predators of penguins. They wait for a chance to get the prey like abandoned eggs, chicks or feeble penguins. Sheathbills usually tidy up the places of penguins by eating the spills and remaining.

Sheathbills

Ibises are birds that are found in the African region and they eat the African penguins. The African penguins have features according to the climate. They don’t have feathers in their feet and have simple patches on the face. Along with the ibises, gulls and also leopards take part in preying the African penguins on land.

Ibises

Gulls are most commonly found in the penguins’ colony where many visitors misunderstand it sometimes as penguins itself, because of its resemblance to the penguins. Gulls have the habit of scaring the penguins and try to get the chicks or eggs.

Gull
Gull

The Fighting Tendency of the Penguins:

Penguins open up their bills and stretch their necks when they sense the threat from the predator bird especially.

Other than that the penguins don’t fight with the marine mammals usually. They lose the life battle in one attempt.

The Penguins have the unique behavior of checking for predators. The group pushes one penguin into the water to check whether a predator is waiting for his meal. By witnessing the result they decide to move into the ocean.

The color of the penguins mostly helps in avoiding the catch of the predators in underwater because of the dark feathers which combine with the dark deep ocean. When the penguin looks above the water and swims, the white underbody disguises the sky and boobs the predators underwater.

Conclusion:

Not only are these predators the threat to the spectacular flightless birds, but they also, include men. The rise in temperature and climatic changes have made penguin clan run down.

The most threatened penguins are the African penguins because of the climatic changes. The human also has contributed to the destruction of the penguin community.

The oil spills, pesticides and a few other concepts of business in the marine have put the lives of penguins and other marine animals in jeopardy. There are also many constructive measures taken to protect these beautiful cuddly penguins. The bulkiest penguins are Antarctica’s penguins which has the largest penguin population. No matter where the penguins are, their cute waddling walk and characteristics make them an innocent creature. Hope, that their lives get restored for the men to glimpse for a delight.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_seal

https://sciencing.com/whales-eat-penguins-8177691.html

https://www.joyofanimals.com/predators-eat-penguins/

http://www.whateats.com/what-eats-penguins

Image source:

  1. Orca by Chad Sparkes / CC BY
  2. Seal by caroline legg / CC BY
  3. Gentoo Penguin guards its chick from Brown Skuas by Liam Quinn / CC BY
  4. Sheathbills by Brian Gratwicke / CC BY
  5. Ibises by mbarrison / CC BY
  6. Gull by Rob Mitchell / CC BY
David
 

I got interested in penguins from a young age and as I grew I realized that penguins are such fascinating birds. I made it a mission to create a website where all information about penguins could be accessed in an easy to read format.

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