Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gentoo Penguin "Peep" Celebrates Her 20th Birthday

 The Tennessee Aquarium will celebrate a special birthday on Wednesday, November 30th. That's when gentoo penguin "Peep" will turn 20 years old, making her the oldest penguin on exhibit at Penguins' Rock. She, along with all of our other gentoos except "Shivers," came to Chattanooga from SeaWorld in San Antonio, TX. Shivers was the first gentoo reared here at the Aquarium.

In the wild, the life span of gentoo penguins is estimated to be between 15 and 20 years. Want more cool penguin facts? Go here.

Penguin keepers will mark the occasion with special treats for the gentoo and macaroni penguins. They will give the birds special fish cupcakes during keeper programs that day. Visitors can enjoy the fun while singing Happy Birthday to Peep.

According to aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich, Peep is kind of a sneaky penguin. "Peep is one of the most sly penguins in our colony," said Aldrich. " She isn't really afraid around keepers, but she kind of sneaks in the back of the group while we are hand-feeding the birds. The next thing you know, she's in front of you ready to eat!"

Peep is not only the oldest penguin at the Tennessee Aquarium. She is also the lightest and smallest gentoo. According Aldrich, she has two favorite activities. "Peep, Biscuit, Pebbles and Blue prefer to spend most of her day swimming. She also likes to paint when we offer that as an enrichment activity."

Look for penguin art in the Aquarium Gift Shops. Here's a shot of Peep painting and an example of her work.

Check in on Peep and the rest of her penguin pals anytime on the Penguins' Rock webcam.

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