Not all penguins live where it’s cold—African penguins live at the southern tip of Africa. Like other penguins, African penguins spend most of the day feeding in the ocean, and that helps keep them cool. Their land habitatWhere an animal or plant normally lives and grows. can get quite warm, but bare skin on their legs and around their eyes help them stay cool. They also stay in the shade when they can.
Most other penguins lay their eggs out in the open, but African penguins have a different approach. They dig burrows to lay their eggs so they are protected from the sun’s heat. The young chicks stay in the burrows for about three weeks. After that, they go out to explore but return to the burrowNoun-A hole in the ground made by certain animals, like rabbits. Verb-To dig a hole in the ground. to stay cool and avoid predators. On land, leopards, mongeese, and domesticDescribing an animal kept by people as a pet, for work, or other reasons. Sheep and goats found on farms are domestic, those found in the wild are not. dogs and cats hunt penguins. In the water, penguins must avoid sharks, fur seals, and orcas.
The African penguin is an endangeredAnimals or plants that survive in such low numbers that they could become extinct in a few years unless something is done to help the populations increase. speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent.—there are only about 52,000 birds left in the wild. What’s threatening them? One problem is that humans gather penguin droppingsThe dung, or fecal matter, of animals., called guano, for fertilizer. But to gather large amounts, heavy equipment is brought in that destroys the penguins’ nesting sites. Other threats include humans collecting penguin eggs for sale, competitionA situation that occurs when living things occupying the same area need the same resources for survival. with humans for fish, and oil spills.