DID YOU KNOW | FACTS STRANGER THAN FICTION

Penguins Never Have Cold Feet

Wish I could say the same for myself

Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles
The Shortform
Published in
1 min readJun 13, 2024

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Penguins walking on the shore
Photo by Rebekah Blocker on Unsplash

We know penguins live in freezing temperatures. How do they manage? Penguins have special adaptations to keep their body temperature at around 40°C. Keeping their feet warm is a challenge as the surface area is large and can’t be insulated with feathers or blubber.

Here’s what they do, to manage this

They adjust blood flow to their feet by changing the diameter of the arteries. When it’s cold, blood flow is reduced; when it’s warm, it’s increased. This control, similar to humans, is managed by the hypothalamus and nervous and hormonal systems.

Penguins also have ‘counter-current heat exchangers’ in their legs, where warm arterial blood transfers heat to the cold venous blood, minimizing heat loss.

So, in winter, their feet stay just above freezing, preventing frostbite.

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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles
The Shortform

Publisher, Namaste Now! Writer, all genres. Editor. Poet. Diabetes Warrior. Traveler. Photographer. Hopeful. Wears son's oversized tshirts https://vidyasury.com