Why don’t penguins freeze in the snow?

Cute, little furry animals that wobble their way around in grasslands of snow. That’s such an apt description of the penguins, isn’t it?

Antarctica, the coldest place abode on Earth is the humble abode of penguins. These animals of harmless existence have been living in these frozen lands, right from the beginning; this snow and ice their habitat forever!

But, on a side note, would it not be interesting to know whether or not these penguins feel cold at all in such freezing conditions? Come, lets find out!



Penguins have found the solid frozen ice-lands to be the most suitable place to live in the Earth. Hence, naturally they have adapted certain physical features and characteristics that help them keep warm and live comfortably in such extreme temperature.

So while any normal person would be completely frozen in these temperatures, these penguins do not do so because they have developed thick furry outer layers on their body, which helps them keep warm. These feathers are also quite waterproof, so that while the ice may melt down to chilly water, they still remain dry, and not become heavy with wet feathers.

Unlike birds and other animals with feathers, penguins do not empty spaces amidst these feathers, and are dense enough to keep them completely covered. Furthermore, they have a thick layer of fat under these feathers, which provide additional warmth, and the freezing cold cannot penetrate to the actual skin of the penguins.

Group Huddles The Best

Well, the penguins wont refuse each other for a frizzy hug!

Yes, and that’s the reason why the penguins are mostly seen to be moving and travelling in close groups, hugging and huddling each other. These groups, usually headed by the male penguins called the Emperor penguins group themselves along with their off-springs as they stand together, huddling each other.

This process help them to retain their common body warmth from escaping, as they stay like that. The younger ones are made to face inwards, facing each other; while the elders or the Emperor penguins become the boundary of the huddle. However, the elder penguins may take turns in standing so, and alternatively each one gets a chance to warm themselves up.

Barriers Of Wind

The frozen lands of Antarctica, house some of the most gigantic icicles and ice cliffs. Being the characteristic features of an ice-land, these though appear to both beautiful and dangerous, however these are also some of the much needed shelter houses for the penguins.

So to protect the breeding colonies of penguins, these ice cliffs become the much required barriers against cold chilly winds. The penguins are often seen to be hiding behind ice cliffs, huddling together and protecting themselves from wind.

Paddle Feet

Being in motion definitely helps to keep warm. Hence when the penguins are not standing in a group, huddling away in one place. they also like to move and wander around searching for food and other resources in the icy lands.

At this point, one fact that is interesting to note is that the penguins sometimes do stand back on their tail, and keep their feet up so that those don’t get frozen, and let out the body heat to escape!


  • Unlike in most other animals, where the females take care of the eggs; the male Emperor Penguins however are the only species who do also take up such a responsibility!
  • Penguins can also swim under water!

Related  Questions:

  1. What are some of the other species of animals that can survive in freezing temperatures?
  2. What is the food habit of a penguin?
  3. Do penguins have wings?

Objective QUESTIONS:

  • ________ penguins often lead their group and guard them against cold.
  • Natural wind barriers are formed by the __________.
  • A layer of _____ under their feathers enhance the warmth in the body of the penguin.
  • Penguins have similar ______ feathers like some other water-borne birds.
  • _______ each other is characteristic symbol of penguins.

True Or False:

  1. Penguins are herbivorous: _______
  2. Penguins can stand back on their tails: ______
  3. A penguin cannot swim: ______
  4. Male penguins do also raise their off-springs: ______
  5. Group hugs is symbol of unity in penguins: ______

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