Posts Tagged ‘poop’

A Bit of Penguin Bathroom Humor

February 17th, 2010 at 3:04 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Okay, so it’s actually not humor, but instead a fact of life. Penguins eat. Penguins digest. Penguins poop.

Penguin poop is called guano, just like the poop of other birds, and because penguins nest in large groups known as colonies, their guano tends to be rather concentrated in those areas. It is also quite smelly, with a strong, earthy barnyard sort of odor. But you get used to it after a while. Really. Just don’t get it on your clothes.

Gentoo penguin chicks on guano-stained rocks with a glacier in the background

Gentoo penguin chicks on guano-stained rocks with a glacier in the background

One of the major staples of penguin diet in the Antarctic is krill, a creature which looks like a shrimp but is in a different family. Krill, in addition to feeding whales and seals, is also quite pink, which results in some penguin guano being pink too, as can be seen in the above picture.

Green-colored penguin guano is a sign that a penguin is molting (and thus staying out of the ocean and not feeding on krill).

One of the more interesting aspects of how penguins defecate is that it is a fast, quick, wet stream of gooey guano. In an area not already heavy with guano, this style of pooping results in long narrow streaks of guano decorating the ground as seen in the photo below:

These white streaks are penguin guano - in other words, penguin poop

These white streaks are penguin guano - in other words, penguin poop

And, to make the whole penguin poop story complete, below is a short video clip of how this all works.