Clumsy Penguins


Penguins will forever hold a fascination for us. Being flightless birds in a frozen climate and behaving more like fish than birds, they captivate us with curiosity. Perhaps it’s that adorable waddle or their tuxedo like appearance, but penguins are really quite fun to watch. They appear to be very clumsy, but there’s actually a reason for this.

Why Are Penguins So Clumsy?

Well it’s really no big secret, I mean look at them. They don’t exactly have the best features for walking on land. They have a very short distance between their feet when they walk, which causes that distinctive waddle. The effect would be similar to walking with our shoes tied together. Only, we have hands to catch us when we fall. When penguins fall they just roll around and try to right themselves by playing it off as a fun slide effort.

Penguins would prefer to slide around than to walk, or rather waddle, around. It helps them to get places faster and more gracefully. Plus it’s really fun to do.


With their torpedo shaped bodies, webbed feet and flippers, it’s no secret that they are more appropriately designed for the water. They can actually spend up to 75% of their lives in the water. They catch all of their food underwater and are excellent divers. They are far more aerodynamically proportioned for shooting through the water then they are for walking on land. Oh, and that tuxedo look? Natural camouflage while in the water. They always swim near the top. So from underneath, their white bellies blend in to the sky and from the top, their black backs blend in to the water. Pretty neat.

It would seem that penguins are indeed clumsy. But, only that short portion of the time they spend on land walking around. Get them in the water and they are nowhere near the clumsy creatures that we see on land. That’s when they are in their element and truly graceful.

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Julie Antonson

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