Friday, August 15, 2014

Two Gentoo penguin chicks debut at Tennessee Aquarium

Aug 12, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The Tennessee Aquarium is the proud “parent” of two Gentoo penguin chicks, which were born to two separate penguin pairs.

They're just over a month old and already showing penguin personalities.

The oldest is the first Gentoo to hatch this year at the Aquarium, and is the offspring of Biscuit and Blue.

“This chick is already testing boundaries,” says Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. The chick is said to make a hissing sound that adult Gentoos are known for, much like to a goose's warning hiss. “It almost sounds like a deep Darth Vader noise,” explains Aldrich.

The second chick was born to a very experienced pair, Bug and Big T. The chick appears to be happiest in the nest, snuggled up behind mom and dad. However, during checkups and weigh-ins, this cuddly-looking chick shows familiar signs of his parents' feisty attitudes. “With those genes, this is going to be one tough bird!” says Aldrich.

Visitors to the Aquarium can see the two newest penguin babies by looking for the acrylic “playpens” inside Penguins' Rock.

The chicks will stay inside the protective barriers for several weeks. “It won't be safe for them to get in the water until they have grown their swim feathers,” explains Aldrich. “But you'll see frequent feedings throughout the day as the parents try to keep up with the chicks' rather voracious appetites.”

Visitors can also add the Ocean Journey Backstage Pass to their Aquarium admission for a special bird's-eye view of the colony from the penguin keeper's observation deck.


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