The humble African penguin is an amazing animal - and one that is, clearly, better than humans. From rocking a tuxedo to the fact that they never fart, we've already listed 20 ways that penguins beat humans.

But, just in case that didn't convince you, here are five more...

21. Karate chops

Wax on... wax off. That is the mantra of the African penguin.

Penguin being slapped GIF

You might know that bird bones are usually hollow and rather fragile - but not penguins' flippers! Their flipper bones are dense and quite heavy compared to the rest of their body - enabling them to be used as weapons against predators. We have plenty of aquarists who've been left with a nasty bruise from an African penguin!

22. Staying cool in summer (without getting sweaty)

Hot sand! Hot hot hot! Credit: Y Nakanishi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Every Capetonian knows those scorchers we face every summer that leave dozens of people grumpy, sweaty, and just generally in the mood to "lam" all day and not accomplish much... That is, all Capetonians other than penguins!

Its a scorcher!

Penguins are equipped with loads of tools to stay cool in the summer sun - they spread their wings in the breeze, bury their feet in the cool sand and African penguins even have distinctive pink glands above their eyes that are used to regulate their temperature. In fact, you can tell if it's a hot day or not just by looking at a penguin - if their eye glands are very pink, it's a Cape Town scorcher!

Being able to keep cool is important when you're protecting your egg from the African sun. Credit: Martyn Smith (CC BY 2.0)

23. Scanning QR codes

Have you ever seen a code like this?

Odds are you've seen a QR code somewhere, but simply couldn't have been bothered to download the right app to scan it. African penguins also rely on unique spot patterns to recognise each other, and unlike us they don't need a special scanning app to do this. No two penguins have the same spot pattern, and no matter how big their colony is, penguins can always identify their mates and friends.

Even juvenile African penguins have a unique spot pattern, and are able to identify the unique patterns of others. Credit: Selbe. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

24. Moving out of their parents' homes

In the current economy, it's not uncommon for kids to live with their parents until their 30s (let's face it, independence is expensive and a teeny bit scary). Penguins, pfft! Penguins don't have that problem.

While penguin colonies are semi-permanent, young African penguins are free to roam from colony to colony to find a place to settle down - some even swim all the way from False Bay to distant islands off the coast of Namibia. But the wanderlust of these young birds doesn't stop there - if they can't find a colony with enough food, they just start a new colony. In fact, the world famous colonies at Boulders Beach, Stony Point and Robben Island were all started by young penguins in the 1980s!

Look Dad, I've got a beach house now! Credit: Pe_Wu/Flickr

25. Having poop that is actually useful

When last have you used your poop for something? Aside from some rather scatologically inspired toddler artworks and a few cases of biogas energy, human poop is simply too dangerous (and gross) for us to work with. Once again, penguins have us beat!

Without natural layers of guano, African penguins are being forced to nest in the open or rely on artificial nests and colonies. Credit: Adri Meyer/BirdLife South Africa

For about four million years, African penguins have been using guano (that's their poop) to cover otherwise barren islands with lovely soft building material to dig their burrows in and raise their young. Then along came humans, who saw the penguin poop and decided to steal it (no jokes). These islands were scraped barren and more than 200 000 tons of poop was used for farming (although we are sure some humans tried to burrow in it too). One of the reasons penguins are doing so poorly today is that they no longer have layers of guano to use to protect their eggs.

You wouldn't steal a dogs poop, so why steal a penguins?
You wouldn't steal a dog's poop, so why steal a penguin's?

Phew! Penguins 25 - Humans 0. What else do you think penguins can beat humans at? Let us know!

Credit: S Martin (CC BY 2.0)

blog comments powered by Disqus