By Derek White, Newport Aquarium PR Aide
NEWPORT, Ky. – From their hatchings to now, it’s hard to believe how much Newport Aquarium’s king penguin chicks, Mario and Luigi, have grown in just eight weeks and five days.
If you can spot them on any given day in the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit, you will notice they are nearly as tall as the adult king penguins.
You will also notice the chicks are covered in a dark brown colored fur with no signs of the species’ trademark tuxedo.
The adolescent king penguins normally suits such colors in their younger age before growing to full adult status.
If this is confusing, don’t worry because you’re not alone. In fact when king penguins we’re first discovered in the wild, explorers were confused as well and even believed them to be a different species, donning them the name, “wooly penguin.”
Of course, upon further observation and as the penguins aged, the fur diminished and the familiar tuxedo began to appear just as they will here soon at Newport Aquarium. The quick growth is in part to how much they’re being fed, which is normal for their age.
The parents are still feeding the chicks by beak and are making sure they’re staying well fed. As of right now the king penguin chicks are just about the size of a full adult and weight approximately eight pounds each. Stay tuned as we continue to keep you updated on our newest additions to our penguin family here at Newport Aquarium.