It snowed in Japan, which doesn’t sound all that exciting, but when you’re a penguin it can mean the world.
A recent Reddit post features a penguin that simply cannot contain his excitement at all the fluffy white stuff, sliding ahead of his compatriots to manically flap his flippers in barely restrained joy.
Actually, it might be more accurate to say this young penguin is just very excited about the prospect of getting out of his pen for a little exercise. Which sounds about right, given how much the rest of us like exercise. There’s always the one guy who can’t stop talking about how much he runs - this is the penguin equivalent.
Called the Penguin Walk, it’s a twice-daily event from December to March that takes place at Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido, Japan. To keep the penguins fit and healthy, zookeepers take them out of their pens and force them to march through the snow in subzero temperatures. Which, again, sounds terrible unless you’re a penguin and used to subzero temperatures.
Our eager beaver seems to be an outlier as the rest of the penguins are somewhat more sullen as they’re herded by slowly shuffling zookeepers.
Although penguins are supposed to pack on fat during the winter months, they normally expend those calories come the spring when they head back to the waters to hunt fish. Penguins don’t need to hunt when they’re in a zoo, so they can become dangerously obese. To fight off the penguin version of diabetes and heart disease, they walk them around the zoo twice a day.
It’s become a tourist attraction at the zoo, as camera-happy folks line up along the penguin’s path to take snapshots of the shuffling birds. However, you’re not allowed to actually touch the penguins, which could result in a severe beaking. Pecking? Whatever word you’d describe being assaulted by a penguin.
Also, that’s not an emperor penguin, but the closely related king penguin. King penguins are found on islands north of the Antarctic, whereas emperor penguins are found along the Antarctic coast. They’re also fairly common, while emperor penguins are threatened due to melting polar ice caps.