The tiny penguin chick Curry (named after Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry) was ready for the spotlight. Despite a little bit of squirming in his handler, biologist Crystal Crimbchin’s arms, the month-old African penguin was actually a fairly well-behaved ball of fluff for his debut on a Google Hangout earlier this afternoon. Curry is a new arrival to the California Academy of Sciences’s zoo, which took the opportunity to give the public some background on Curry and other African penguins, which are endangered. You can watch the whole Hangout here, but here are some of our favorite details from the event:
He Has A Built-In Pair Of Goggles
Like other penguins, Curry has two sets of eyelids. The inner eyelid is clear, and keeps saltwater from damaging the eye. This adapatation means Curry can see just as well in the water as he does on land.
He Has An Appetite
When he’s an adult, Curry will eat a pound of fish per day. But first, he has to go to Fish School. Right now he’s still eating food regurgitated by his parents (and you thought baby food was gross). Once he gets bigger, the parents will start giving him partially digested fish. Then the biologists will step in and train Curry to accept food from them, not just his parents.
He Is Very Messy
These penguins go to the bathroom every 15 minutes, and with 18 birds currently in the display their area gets very, very dirty. Biologists at the Academy have to clean the enclosure multiple times per day, and the penguin’s water is constantly filtered.
He Has To Get A Physical
Just like a human child, Curry will get regular physicals for the rest of his time at the Academy. He gets a check-up once a year, unless he isn’t feeling well. If he stays healthy, he can expect to live for about 30 years.
He’s Part Of A Survival Plan
Curry is part of a Species Survival Plan. African Penguins are an endangered species, losing over 70 percent of their population between 2001 and 2013. To keep the species going, zoos and aquariums around the world are trying to boost the population and keep it genetically diverse.
Curry will go on display with the rest of the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences sometime in the next two months. If you need to get your penguin fix before then, you can check out live streams of the Colony. Or, if you like both penguins and robots, you can check out this very strange penguin mirror art installation in New York.