Keepers have noticed the toddler penguins have p-p-picked up some fussy eating habits, much like their human counterparts.
Some of the younger penguins at Chessington’s Penguin Bay have been spotted playing with their food, demanding their food is served in a particular way, and only wanting the sweeter dishes on the menu.
Instead of everyday sprat, they’re demanding choicer fish cuts including herring, smelt and mackerel. And some birds are turning their beaks up at anything that isn’t capelin – a fish that is the penguin equivalent of chocolate, apparently.
Most of the penguins insist on being hand-fed, rather than eating off the ground. Well, penguins have to have standards, you know.
Nick Tulley, penguin keeper at Chessington World of Adventures Resort said: ‘Mealtimes at Penguin Bay can be quite tricky, as we definitely have some diva penguins on our hands. Out of the 23 penguins in our care, at least half of them will refuse to eat their sprat if there is anything tastier at the bottom of the bucket.
‘As with toddlers, we have learnt that we need to be a bit sneaky, making sure they eat their main before they get dessert. We also change it up a bit on a daily basis, offering them a mix of fish to include mackerel, which is very high in protein and oil-rich herring, which maintains the penguins’ fat reserves.’
Nick adds: ‘We’re also slowly working on getting them to feed on their own and not by hand, although this is something they are not yet ready to compromise on!’
And we thought we couldn’t love penguins more.