It’s moulting time for some of our Little Penguins!
Little Penguins have around 10,000 individual feathers on their body, and each one will be replaced during this moulting period.
That means, every single old feather is pushed out to make way for brand new ones to grow in. This fresh plumage is super important for a Little Penguin because it ensures their healthy coats will continue to be waterproof.
Moulting is an annual process for a Little Penguin, and it’s easy to spot because they will look quite fluffy and scruffy.
Perth Zoo Senior Keeper, Nicole Longhi, said: “Moulting is a very normal part of a Little Penguin’s life, but it can leave them feeling a little bit vulnerable.
“They are not able to swim during the moult because their feathers are not waterproof, so they get their energy from saved up fat stores and they do not go into the water for food or to escape potential threats.
“This leaves them more susceptible to predation and human interference.
“It’s very important to keep this in mind when you’re out and about at beaches and known Little Penguin habitat during the warmer months.”
Here’s how you can help protect Little Penguins during moulting seasons:
- If you spot a particularly fluffy or moulting penguin in the wild on the beach, please admire it from a safe distance and give it plenty of space.
- Keep dogs on a leash at all times at the beach, and keep your cats indoors.
- If you are concerned about a penguin in the wild, please call the Wildcare Helpline for advice on (08) 9474 9055.