The chick, whose gender is unknown at this point, is doing very well. It’s beginning to vocalize, and is gaining weight by leaps and bounds. When it first hatched a week ago today it was the size of a golf ball, but it has already grown to be the roughly the size of a baseball!
Much like human newborn babies, when chicks are first hatched, they are very dependent on their parents. Their eyes are closed, and their bodies are developing muscles that will eventually allow them to hold their head up and walk (or waddle). The only difference is that penguin growth happens in warp-speed! In fact, in a year, it will be fully grown.
Since the chick has hatched, mom and dad have been sharing in the incubation or “babysitting” duties, and will continue to do so until the penguin chick gains full control over its own body temperature, which typically happens within the first 15 to 30 days. The chick will remain in its nest for approximately a month, until it starts to wander out on its own, at which point staff will move it behind-the-scenes where it can begin the process of becoming more comfortable with people. At about six months, Adventure Aquarium’s veterinary team will be able to determine the chick’s gender during its first blood draw.
This is the first hatchling for Kali and Tyson, who were paired back in 2009 through the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of African Penguins through a scientifically-controlled breeding program. Since it began working with the program in 1998, the Aquarium has successfully bred and raised fourteen African Black footed penguin chicks.
Adventure Aquarium anticipates that guests will be able to meet this adorable newborn chick come spring. Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this adorable new addition to Adventure Aquarium!