Emperor Penguin

This passage is about one of the few species that can survive in Antarctica.

Lexile Level: 1070L

Categories: People & Places Animals & Nature

Antarctica is one of the harshest places on Earth. During the winter, which begins in May, the temperature plummets to minus sixty degrees Fahrenheit, and darkness covers the land. Few species can survive in such conditions. One that does is the emperor penguin. The penguin's feathers are watertight and sealed in oil, protecting it from the icy sea where it hunts for fish. Those same feathers also protect it from the brutally cold winds on land. During breeding season, which commences at the start of winter, thousands of pairs of emperor penguins march inland to lay their eggs. Each female passes its egg to her mate and then sets off back to the sea to hunt. The male tucks the egg into a pouch at his feet where he shelters it for two months from the wind and cold, rarely moving and never eating. When the penguin chicks hatch, the females return with their bellies stuffed with fish that they regurgitate and feed to their young.


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