African Penguin Facts

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Children's books
by Lulu & Tee

Did you know that....

* African Penguins are also known as Jackass Penguins, Spheniscus demersus (Latin) and Blackfoot Penguins.

* They eat mainly fish (anchovies, pilchards, sardines, mackerel and herrings) but they also eat squid and shellfish.


* African Penguins are about 60cm tall.

* Boys tend to be a little bigger than girls.

* They weigh between 2.4 and 3.6kgs.

* African Penguins dive on average to 30m,

* Can dive as deep as 130m.

* They hold their breath on a dive for an average of 2.5 minutes.

* African Penguins can swim up to 20 km per hour when hunting

* Their average swimming speed is 7km/h

* Average life span is 10 years.

* Start breeding at aprox. 4 yrs old, and normally lay 2 eggs in a nest that is burrowed in guano or sand

* Incubation period is about 38-42 days, with the mum and dad sharing the incubation duties.

* They live in colonies on 24 islands and along the coast between Namibia and Port Elizabeth.

Oiled Penguins

* On the outside it ruins their insulation, the penguin's feathers don't work properly any longer as they are congealed with oil, so the penguins get cold (hypothermia).

* On the inside, if the penguin swallows oil whilst preening (cleaning itself), the penguin gets poisoned.

* Penguins are strong enough to survive a few days once oiled, but if they don't get cleaned (which they can't do themselves), they will die.

* If you come across an oiled penguin(within South Africa/Namibia) please call SANCCOB for information on where to take it to be cleaned.

Peter, Pamela and Percy

Were the three penguins that were rescued during the Treasure oil spill and kitted with tracking devices. They were shipped by truck to Port Elizabeth and their swim home to Cape Town was tracked.

* Peter comes from Robben Island

* Pamela and Percy come from Dassen Island.

* News of Percy can be seen here

*A map of the route they swam home can be seen here.

To See Penguins:

Take a trip to Boulders Beach in Simonstown, or catch the Robben Island Ferry and see them there.
Conservation status To help click
In 1900, it was estimated that about 1.5-million birds lived on Dassen Island alone.

There are now only about 21 000 breeding pairs of African penguins left in the world and they are listed as "Endangered". The reasons for the rapid decline in the population are due to egg harvesting, disease and guano harvesting (bird droppings) for use as fertilizer, reduction in food supply due to commercial fishing and oil pollution.

Sponsor a Penguin Nest

Peter, Pamela and Percy are helping to save the African Penguin by buying nest boxes for the penguins to nest in. So far they have bought:
* 3 from Dyer Island Conservation Trust and
* 3 from SANParks at Boulders Beach.

Thank you for buying my book and making this possible!

If you would like to buy a house for the penguins you can go to the following website:

* Dyer Island Conservation Trust