Friday, April 25, 2008
This makes me happy!
Balding Penguin Gets Wetsuit for Warmth
Posted: 2008-04-25 13:20:54
Filed Under: Science News, Weird News
SAN FRANCISCO (April 25) - What's black and white and warm all over? A penguin in a wetsuit, naturally.
Eric Risberg, AP 'He Was Cold;
He Would Shake'1 of 4 Forget the Rogaine -- Pierre the penguin's got a wetsuit. The 25-year-old African bird was going bald, so biologists at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco outfitted him in a specially-designed wetsuit to encourage him back into the water. Here, Pierre models his sleek duds for aquatic biologist Pam Schaller.
Sounds like a joke, but it's quite serious for biologists at the California Academy of Sciences, who had a wetsuit created for an African penguin to help him get back in the swim of things.
Pierre, a venerable 25 years old, was going bald, which left him with an embarrassingly exposed, pale pink behind.
Unlike marine mammals, which have a layer of blubber to keep them warm, penguins rely on their waterproof feathers. Without them, Pierre was unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank and ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water.
"He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy.
Pierre's species of penguin is accustomed to temperate climates, unlike many of their cousins. The birds are nicknamed Jackass penguins because they make sounds similar to braying donkeys, quite startling the first time you hear it in an aquarium.