Penguins Habitat

Everything you ever wanted to know about a penguin’s habitat


A penguin’s habitat is naturally cold and watery.  All varieties of the penguin are native to the southern hemisphere, and in fact, they can be found on every continent in the southern hemisphere.  Penguins are especially abundant on islands in colder climates, and they tend to remain in areas that are isolated and free of most predators. 


In all, there are 17 different species of penguin in the world, and not all of them live in cold climates like we imagine.  The majority of penguin species do prefer colder climates, although there are even some penguins that are native to some of the tropical climates located right at the equator.  The penguin’s habitat can range from a sheet of ice to warm, sandy beaches, depending on what kind of penguin it is. 


However, one thing that is constant across all types of penguins is the need for a body of water nearby.  The penguin cannot fly, so the penguin’s habitat consists of plenty of water for them to swim in.  Penguins spend about 75 percent of their lives in the water, and they favor cold currents that bring plenty of food right to them.  Penguins need a body of water to hunt for food.  They eat fish, squid, and various types of crustaceans.   The body of the penguin is also designed specifically for the water, giving them a streamlined body shape and feathers to help them move easily through the water and keep their body temperature regulated, even in the coldest water of Antarctica. 

The penguin’s habitat also changes depending on what time of year it is.  Penguins migrate from the breeding grounds to feeding areas along the coast.  Some types of penguins travel very far during their migrations, while others travel only a short way.  The penguin also likes to explore, especially while it’s young.  It’s not uncommon for young penguins to leave home and wander around the area to check it out, although they typically do return home to molt and breed.  Penguins also tend to build nests, using rocks, sticks, or whatever they can find to build homes.  They used these nests to lay their eggs and care for their babies.


The penguin’s habitat is still changing today, just as it has for the past 100 years.  Researchers believe global warming is affecting penguins and threatening their habitats.  Warmer climates in colder areas mean less ice for them to live on.  Warmer climates also make it more difficult for some types of penguins to survive.  It increases the number of penguins that die because of the heat.  More sun makes it more difficult for cold air penguins to regulate their body temperatures.  All that heat may also keep the penguins from reproducing, which further decreases their numbers.


Another interesting thing about penguins is that they mate for life.  Unfortunately, this can mean that if one half of a pair leaves for too long to look for food, then the other penguin abandons the eggs to look for food.  This decreases their numbers even further.