How Scarborough’s red-faced penguins keep cool in the heat

Penguins at Scarborough Sea Life keep cool with a makeshift shower.'picture: Tony Bartholomew
Penguins at Scarborough Sea Life keep cool with a makeshift shower.'picture: Tony Bartholomew

The animal care team at Sea Life Scarborough have constructed a shower for their colony of Humboldt penguins so that they can cool down as we experience some of the hottest temperatures the coast has seen in recent years.

The penguins, which are native to Chile and Peru, are used to warmer temperatures in the wild.

However, as the birds at the aquarium have spent the majority of their lives in the North of England, this sustained hot weather is unusual for them and they’ve been keeping cool by splashing through sprinklers.

Head of animal care, Lyndsey Crawford-Darwell, said: “We’re not exactly used to all this sunshine in Scarborough and some of our penguins have been looking a little red faced. They have patches of exposed skin around their beaks which help to control temperature and these flush red when they’re warm.

“Humboldts have got an excellent central heating system but their air conditioning is not quite as good.

“They maintain heat incredibly well so as we’ve had so many hot days in a row we’ve made them a shower to wander through and help cool themselves down.”

Sea Life Scarborough is home to the only interactive penguin walkway in the region and visitors to the aquarium can get up close and personal with their feathered friends waddling past their feet.

When asked which bird liked the shower the most, Lyndsey said: “Definitely Custard!

“He’s known as our naughty penguin and loves any chance for mischief.

“Some of the birds are unsure of new things but Custard is always the first to check anything out.

“Our baby chick from this year Wilma has also been splashing around, she seems to really love the water.”