Ask A Researcher

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Read some of these thoughtful questions submitted by students around the world. How would you answer? You can click on any of the questions to link to answers provided by the researchers themselves. If you have a question that is not answered here, go to the form at the bottom of the page and submit your question. How much do you know about penguins?


Diet and Feeding

1. How do penguins catch their food while they are swimming and do they have teeth?

2. If there is no fresh liquid water in Antarctica, how can the Adélies drink the salt water of the ocean?

3. How do you feed them? ( Matthew,Florida)

4. Do any animals have the Adelie penguin as a predators? (Candy, CA)

5. How do they sleep or do they hunt at night? Do they hunt in the morning or do they hunt in the evening? (Courtney, PA)

6. Do penguins eat anything but fish? (Miley, PA)

7. How many pounds of food do penguins eat a day? (Whitni, IL)

8. What do penguins eat the least? (Abby, IL)

9. Why do penguins eat krill?(Alexis, WI)

10. Do penguins eat all the time?(Jessica, WI)

11. I would like to know how much fish a penguin eats in a year. (Liam, CT)




1. How fast can the penguin swim?

2. What is the purpose of porpoising?

3. How long can Adélie Penguins hold their breath underwater, and how deep do they dive?

4. How high can the penguins jump out of the water?(Cassidy, California)

5. Can penguins do backflips out of the water?




Biology and Habitat

1. How many Adélie Penguins are there?

2. Where do Adélie Penguins go in the winter?

3. How long do adelie penguins live? (Davey, Michigan)

4. How big is the biggest Adelie penguin? (Lorenzo, Illinois)

5. Do penguins go the bathroom on land or under water?(Sam, Illinois)

6. Can a male mate with another male or can a female mate with another female? Why or why not?

7. How do the penguins communicate with each other? (Farheen, Illinois)

9. Do they like the cold air? ( Hillary, Illinois)

10. Do penguins ever start fighting and go off on their own? (Matt, IL)

10. How do the Adelie penguins protect themselves and their egg(s)? ( Asiya, Illinois)

11. What exterme temps can peguins live in? (Alex, PA)

12. How are penguins born?(Matt, IL)

13. How does a penguin waddle? ( Nikkia, PA)

14. How hard can an Adelie Penguin bite? (Arthur, CA)

15. How much of a territory do penguins have? (Nicholas)

16. I have seen a movie where the male penguin gives a pebble to a girl penguin and then they fall in love. Is that true? We knew that they build their nests out of pebbles. (Ferrisburgh, 1st grade, VT)

17. Do males or females have different color markings to tell them apart? (Becca, NY)

18. How many penguins are in one colony? (Sierra, IL)

19. Do Adelie penguins mate for life? Or just for the season? (Austin, IL)

20. How do Adelie penguins get away from predators?(Kyle, WI)

21. How does the dad penguin stay alive when the mom goes hunting for food for a couple months?(Mary, WI)

22. How can the penguins breathe under water and what if they eat a rotten fish?(Kody, WI)

23. Why can't penguins live in a warm habitat?(Evan, WI)

24. How many penguins females are there? (Hailey, WI)

25. Why do penguins have their wings back when they run or walk?(Sierra, IL)

26. Why do Adelie penguins lay on their bellies? Why do they look fat when they lay down? (Rebecca, IL)

27. Do penguins hold their breath and if so how long? (Jessie, TX)

28. How do they get so warm in the cold weather? (Addie, TX)

29. Why can't penguins fly? ( Ember, TX)

30. In one of the images that that showed the penguins body waste was spread out like something fell from the sky and just blew up. Why does the penguins body waste
do that? (Arijit, MO)

31. How many of the adelie penguins survive a year? ( Kyle, IL)

32. Where would you say the most penguins live? (Lindsey, TX)

33. How much do the penguins weigh? (Joe, CA)



Nests and Chick Rearing

1. How long does it take to hatch the egg after it is laid?

2. How many eggs does the Adélie penguin lay?

3. Do penguins return to the colony they were hatched in to raise their own chicks?

4. Why do the penguins leave their young? When predators can come and take their young? ( Matt & Zach, Illinois)

5. How do the penguins build their nests? (Illinois)

6. Do the parents take turns watching the nest or does only the male stay and keep the eggs warm? Do the parents ever leave the nest unguarded? What is the size of the egg? (Grade 2 Vermont)

7. How do female penguins know when to come back to their nests? (Jessie, Missouri)

8. Why do the male penguin nest the egg instead of the female penguin,and how long does she remain gone? (Jelton, Illinois)

9. What do the Adelie penguins do with their eggs or newborns if they freeze when passing
the eggs back and forth from parent to parent? (Rebecca, Illinois)

10. Why do penguins hold there eggs on there feet and how big is an egg? (Amanda, Illinois)

11. Where do penguins make their nest? (Christina, PA)

12. Why is a group of baby penguins called a Creche'? (Jackson, IL)

13. What would happen if a male or female dropped the egg, would a Skua get the egg or would it harm the chick? (Cassidy, IL)

14. How hard are penguin egg shells? (Sierra, IL)

15. Why do the penguins have their eggs in a deep ditch?(Elizabeth, IL)

16. Why don't penguins have feathers on their "incubation patch"?(Brianne, IL)

17. How long does it take for a penguin's egg to freeze if the parents are switching on the nest? (John, CA)

18. Why did the male in nest #13 leave the female with the eggs for 13 days without changing guard? (Sierra IL)

19. Do penguins seem to mourn the loss of a chick? (Mrs Schaefer, IL)

20. How do the penguins keep their babies warm without squishing them? (Samantha, MO)

21. What do the babies eat? How do they eat? Do both parents feed them? (VT, 1st gr)

22. How do you determine the sex of the chicks? (Linda, PA)




1. How do penguins feathers work to keep them warm?

2. What happens if the penguins lose or damage their feather?

3. How do Adélie penguins find their nesting colony when it is time to breed?

4. The penguins at the zoo never fold their wings like the other birds, why is that?

5. We have been learning about adaptive coloration in animals and it seems black would not be a good color for a penguin. Isn’t it easy for their predators to see them against the ice?

6. Adélie Penguins don’t have feathers on their feet. Don’t they loose a lot of heat from their legs and feet when they are exposed to the ice, water and cold air?

7. Do Adélie Penguins have any predators? (Joey, CA)

8. Do penguins blink their eyes? (Ryan, CT)

9. How are fused flippers different from flippers?(Peter, WI)

10.The scientists said that the Emperor penguins held their breath for 20 minutes. Is a penguin's body adapted to hold its breath and open its beak to catch food at the same time? (Mrs W. CT)

11. Do penguins have knees? (Brittan, TX)




1. How cold is it in Antarctica?

2. Do Adélie Penguins bite?

3. How can you tell the females from the males? ( Nicholas, IL)

4. How fast can the Adélie Penguin walk?

5. Where does the word “penguin” come from?

6. What is the greatest threat to Adélie Penguins?

7. How is global climate change affecting Adélie Penguins?

8. How do penguins interact with people?(third grade, TX)

9. On NestCheck why do the females have bands and the males don't?(Caleb, IL)

10. Do you see Emperor Penguins ,and how tall are they? (Shalana, IL)

11. What does it mean when a mate has no band? ( Jackie, PA)

12. How many types of peguins are there? (Emily&Kaitlynn,)

13. Do you have fun while researching the penguins?(Nygel, IL)

14. When you are in Antartica, do you see Polar Bears, Seals, Whales, lepord seals, or people with huskies? (Andrew, NY)

15. Does the fence go all around the colony so the penguins all have to go through the same gate? Is there more than one gate? (Ferrisburgh, 1st grade, VT)

16. Have you taken samples of how much salt is in the sea water, and have you taken samples of the rocks and what kind of materials are in the rocks? (Sierra, IL)

17. How can people get close to penguins? (Kaitie, CT)

18. Are Skuas related to seagulls? Are Skuas seagulls?(Asiya,IL)

19. What will happen if a penguin dies?(Sydney, IL)

20. Can the penguins break the ice? (Ms Thomas, PA)

21. Can little kids get near a penguin? (Courtney, PA)

22. How come all the water you use to drink a plane has to bring it in, why can’t you just drink the water in the sea? (John, CA)

23. How big is ROSS island? ( Sierra, IL)

24. What do the Skuas eat in the winter when there are no penguin chicks to hunt? (Emma, CT)

25. Do thay get mad when you get close to take a picture? (Emma, CT)

26. Why don't other types of cold weather penguins live with the adelies? (Susan, NY)

27. If there were to become a tide or their worst enemy were to come where would they go , and what would they do?(Kyra, Llenzi, Brandon, IL)

28. Do you think the penguins know that we are watching them? (Lexie, TX)

29. How warm can Antarctica get? (Kittery IL)

30. I was looking at the photos from the penguin nests. I noticed that some of the penguins have a brown and red color on their white feathers. Is it dirt or blood? (Ayleen, VA)

31. I want to know how they slide down hills? (PA)

32. I am in second grade. A fourth grader at my school said that there was going to be a flood in Antarctica because of the smoke in China. We are a little worried about the penguins. (Elizabeth, CT)

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