Edinburgh Zoo announced the arrival of the season’s first penguin chicks – two Gentoo penguins – that hatched this week, one in the early hours of Monday and the second on Wednesday. Several more are expected to hatch over the coming weeks.
Both chicks hatched in the same nest, marked C7 on the online Zoo penguin map. Viewers can use the penguin cam to locate the nest.
Zoo officials say another egg has already begun to crack and should soon hatch. The rest of the eggs are expected to start hatching over the next few weeks.
One of the Gentoo penguin chicks that hatched this week. (Image: Edinburgh Zoo)
Breeding season started in March
Edinburgh Zoo’s breeding season started at Penguins Rock in March, with the customary flipper slaps and squabbles as the penguins jostled to claim their favoured nest rings and the accompanying pebbles.
The first eggs were laid at the beginning of April, just in time for Easter, the Zoo said. So far, the birds have laid forty eggs. Now, about a month later, they are starting to hatch.
Senior Penguin Keeper at *RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, Dawn Nicoll, said:
“We are really happy that the first of the gentoo penguin eggs have hatched. Penguin breeding season is always a really busy time for us, right from the moment we put the nesting rings into the enclosure, through the incubation period, to the hatching, rearing and eventually, the fledging of the chicks.”
“It is always incredibly rewarding when the eggs start hatching and we finally get to see the penguin chicks. The majority of them will hatch over the next two to three weeks as the birds will not all lay at exactly the same time. Fingers crossed, we will have quite a few chicks keeping us busy this season.”
*RZSS stands for Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
According to British and Australian scientists, Gentoo penguins gather in large groups before breeding and drop massive amounts of poo (guano). This makes the snow darker, which absorbs more sunlight and melts.
Video – Gentoo penguin eggs hatch