what do gentoo penguins eat

What Do Gentoo Penguins Eat?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

Do you want to know what gentoo penguins eat? You have come to the right page. In this review, we will discuss what gentoo penguins eat and lots more.

What Do Gentoo Penguins Eat?

All species of penguins including gentoo penguins have a large appetite. Gentoo penguins eat sea creatures like crustaceans, squid, and fish.

Crustaceans

Gentoo penguins eat crustaceans like shrimp, krill, crabs, and lobsters with soft exoskeletons. These food choices have some good numbers of vitamins and minerals that help gentoo penguins live a healthy active lifestyle.

These crustaceans also contain omega-3 fatty acids which help the penguins keep their body weight, stay healthy, and warm.  

Squid

Gentoo penguins also feed on squids especially during the summer when there is an abundance of them. Squids are rich in vitamins B12, B6, and C as well essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium.

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Fish

During the summer when the population of fish increases, gentoo penguins mainly feed on fish. They eat fishes like cod icefish which are mainly found in the antarctic ocean. Cod icefish has a lot of meat which makes a satisfying meal for gentoo penguins. 

Meanwhile, gentoo penguins can also feed on other types of fish like flatfish and southern blue whiting. 

When hunting these fishes, gentoo penguins ensure they don’t slip out of their grip. Thus, they use the small bristles on their tongues to lightly puncture the fish’s skin.

What Are Gentoo Penguins?

Gentoo penguins are species of penguins mainly found in rocky and frozen antarctic islands. They waddle their tails slowly while walking on land but when in water, they swim gracefully.

As a matter of fact, gentoo penguins are the fastest swimmer among all penguins species. They can swim as fast as 22 miles per hour. They can also dive into a depth of 650 feet and stay under the water for a long period. 

How Much Food Do Gentoo Penguins Eat Daily?

Gentoo penguins are social birds with voracious appetites. They can make as many as 450 swims daily to look for food. Basically, gentoo penguins feed as often as they catch their prey. The food they eat daily is about 10% of their body weight.

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What Are The Predators Of Gentoo Penguins?

Gentoo penguins are also not entirely safe in their habitat. They are usually preyed upon and eaten by other animals too.

Leopard seals prey on older gentoo penguins. Meanwhile, caracaras (falcons), giant petrels, sheathbills, and feral cats prey on young gentoo penguins. 

How Do Gentoo Penguins Reproduce?

The gentoo penguins’ breeding season happens once a year. When a male gentoo penguin wants to mate with a female, it chooses a nest site. Then, it bellows out calls, inviting females to come to the site. 

If any of the female gentoo penguins considers the nest site appropriate, they will mutually engage in trumpeting and bowing. 

Afterward, the female gentoo penguin will lay two spherical white eggs laid 3 days apart. The second egg is always smaller than the first and both eggs hatch in five weeks. Meanwhile, both the male and female gentoo penguins will incubate the eggs laid. 

Conclusion

Gentoo penguins are very fast underwater birds that are found in the antarctic ocean. There are two recognized species of these penguins – P. p ellsworthii and P. p papua. 

They prey and feed on shrimps, krill, squid, and fish. However, they are also preyed on and eaten by caracaras (falcons), giant petrels, sheathbills, and feral cats.

Also, Skuas attack their eggs and take them away. Gentoo penguins breed only once per year and lay just two eggs of different sizes.

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