PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Trip of a Lifetime
In October 2010, former TFK Kid Reporter Claire Epting and her dad, Chris Epting, took off on a 14-day Antarctic adventure. They were there to see emperor penguins. Claire won the trip after winning first prize in an essay contest, by SeaWorld and Quark Expeditions. Here she is with the penguins on Snow Hill Island. Click through this slide show to see some of the animals she saw on her trip, and a few others that live on the icy continent.
Emperor penguins raise their chicks for a very long time. The chicks are born with a warm coat of fuzzy feathers, called down. They shed the extra coat when they grow older.
Parent and Chick
Emperor penguins lay a single egg. The parents take turns watching over the egg and going to fish. The young are hatched between mid-July and August. Each chick has a special call. This is how parents can tell their chicks from others.
Adélie penguins live on Antarctica and on nearby islands. During the spring breeding season, they live in large colonies along the rocky coastline. Adélies line their nests with stones. They have even been known to steal rocks from their neighbors’ nests!
Chinstrap penguins are named for the black band of feathers under their chin. They eat mostly krill, a small, shrimp-like creature.
Gentoo penguins are known for their long, bushy tails. They have white patches above their eyes and a bright, red-orange beak.
Crabeater seals are the most abundant seal species in the world. Adults can grow to nearly 8 feet long and weigh up to 440 pounds. The Crabeater seal’s name is misleading. It does not feed on crabs. It feeds mainly on krill.
Can you guess how the leopard seal got its name? That’s right! It was named for its black spots. Leopard seals are the second biggest Antarctic seal species. The largest is the southern elephant seal. Leopard seals are true hunters. They feed on fish, squid, and penguins. Sometimes, they even prey on other seals.
Much of a Weddell seal’s life is spent swimming beneath the Antarctic ice. It can dive as deep as 2,000 feet. They are also champions at holding their breath. A Weddell seal can stay underwater for as long as 45 minutes.
Ross seals are known for having very large eyes. Not much is known about the species. They are named for British explorer James Clark Ross. He was the first to describe the seal during his Antarctic expedition, from 1839 to 1843.