What Do Penguins Eat?


What Do Penguins Eat?

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Due to the widespread popularity of these aquatic birds in aquariums and zoos, you have probably already seen one or two distinct species of penguins. The majority of these species do reside in frigid regions, and they are virtually entirely found in the Southern Hemisphere. A few penguin species do inhabit warmer climates, but all members of the Spheniscidae family are semi-aquatic, meaning they spend half of their time in and half of their time out of the water.

There are 17 distinct species of penguin. The emperor penguin is the largest species of penguin; adults can reach heights of 1.1 meters and weigh up to 35 kilograms. The little blue penguin, sometimes known as the fairy penguin, is the smallest species of penguin. It is about 33 cm tall and weighs only 1 kilogram.

 What Do Penguins Eat?

 What Do Penguins Eat?


Krill are small animals that resemble shrimp in appearance. All oceans have these, which are roughly 2 inches long. Typically, these species migrate in big numbers. Many aquatic birds and a vast array of ocean creatures rely on krill as a crucial source of food.

All penguin species enjoy eating krill. The Adellie penguin species is thought to eat roughly 1,500,000,000 kg of krill annually.


Fish makes over 80% of the penguin’s diet. Fish is an extremely valuable food item for penguins because it enables them to develop large amounts of body fat, which allows them to withstand hard winters and times of fasting.

Any kind of fish that a penguin can discover will be caught and consumed. The total breeding population of Adelie penguins is thought to consume roughly 115,000 metric tons of seafood annually.

Almost any kind of fish can be caught and eaten by these aquatic birds, but they particularly enjoy eating silverfish, lantern fish, sprats, pilchards, mullets, anchovies, sardines, and other fish.


Our oceans contain more than 67,000 different species of crustaceans. These animals can vary widely in size and can be recognized by their hard exoskeleton. Crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill, barnacles, and a wide variety of other crustaceans are among the numerous that penguins enjoy eating. Although many of these insect-like critters are trapped and eaten whole, their powerful beaks can break the hard shells.


Tiny crustaceans called amphipods. There are many different kinds of these larvae, which typically range in size from 1 to 340 mm. Although larger penguins have been known to devour the largest amphipods they can locate, smaller penguin species like the fairy penguin do like eating these little amphipods.


Small rocks are also consumed and swallowed by penguins. The rocks themselves are not digested by the penguins; rather, the rocks aid in the digestion of harder meals, such as crustaceans, by breaking them up into smaller pieces.

 Diet Variations

Different kinds of penguins do exhibit preferences for particular diets. For instance, lesser penguins concentrate more on krill while emperor penguins mostly hunt fish. In abrasive environments, penguins may attempt to consume alternative meals, such as insects.

Overall though, they’ll stick to a carnivorous diet and won’t eat any plant materials.

 How to Feed Penguins?

 How to Feed Penguins?

 How Much Do Penguins Eat?

A penguin’s diet is influenced by its species and the time of year. Some species, like male emperor penguins, won’t eat at all so they can take care of their eggs, while others, like those that fast or live in the winter, may survive on far fewer meals.

In order to put on weight and store adequate fat for the chilly winter months, all penguins eat more throughout the autumn than during any other month of the year.

Emperor penguins need between 2 and 5 kg of food each day as adults, although smaller species will eat less.

 What Do Baby Penguins Eat?

Penguin chicks are young penguins. For the first few months of their existence, these creatures depend on their parents for survival.

When penguin chicks hatch, they will be housed with other penguins in a “creche” while their parents go on a feeding expedition. The fish is caught and eaten by the parents, who then regurgitate the food to the chick after they have digested it.

 What Do Wild Penguins Eat?

Only the items found in their ecosystem can penguins eat in the wild. There may be seasonal restrictions on specific items.

Overall though, penguins will grab and immediately consume any of their food sources, including krill, squid, crabs, and more.

 How Do Penguins Hunt For Food?

Penguins actively seek out food. They will immediately dive in and give any foods a try that they feel worthwhile. These birds can, however, employ a variety of hunting tactics because they commute and move as a family, including the following;

Foraging in groups allows them to quickly catch schools of fish by luring them into close proximity.

Attacks from below – Although they are capable of catching fish in any fashion, many prefer to do so since it enables them to push the fish up against the ice.

 Do Penguins Eat Seaweed?

Seaweed is not eaten by penguins. Since they are carnivores, their survival depends on the protein and lipids found in fish and other aquatic life.

 Do Penguins Eat Turtles?

Penguins are not likely to consume turtles, but if they do come across a nest, they may eat the little hatchlings. The penguin will struggle to swallow the turtle once these hatchlings get too big or their shells get too thick.

 Do Penguins Eat Meat?

Yes, penguins only eat meat and are carnivores. They will consume fish, crustacean, and other aquatic animal meat.

Given that global warming has diminished their native habitat, penguins are crucial to the environment and should receive the best care possible. Given the proper food, it is totally possible to help these creatures survive tough winters. They are relatively easy to care for.

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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author