The World’s Smallest Penguin

Do you like penguins but wish they were portable enough to carry in one hand, instead of two? Well, I have just the penguin for you! This little penguin is literally called the little penguin, and it is the smallest penguin in the world.

Little penguins are truly little. They have an average height of 32 centimeters (which is about a foot) and an average weight of 1.5 kilograms (which is a little over 3 pounds). By comparison, the emperor penguin, which is the largest and heaviest of all penguins, averages about 115 centimeters (which is nearly four feet) in height and can weigh up to 45 kilograms (which is about 100 pounds)!

You know what’s crazy? There are rats that are bigger than little penguins. That’s why they have so many predators. Bigger penguins only have to worry about seals and orcas, but these little guys are regularly preyed upon by cats and snakes.

At one time, the little penguin was considered a single species, but in 2016, scientists split little penguins into two different species. One species is known for its bright blue feathers and is found in Southern Australia and the Otago region of New Zealand. The other species does not have blue feathers and is only found in New Zealand. So you won’t be finding these guys in Antarctica.

I’ve had my own personal experience with the world’s smallest penguin. In October 2013, I visited an island called Penguin Island. Penguin Island is located near Perth, Western Australia, and is home to a colony of little penguins. It’s a beautiful island with clear, blue water and numerous seabird colonies. I didn’t see any wild penguins out and about, but I did see some at the Penguin Island Discovery Center.

In the wild, little penguins live to an average age of 6.5 years, but in captivity, they can live up to 25 years. That’s a pretty dramatic lifespan difference. Small animals with faster metabolic rates don’t tend to live as long as bigger animals with slower metabolic rates, so it’s impressive that these small birds can live over two decades.

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