When Temperatures Plummet to -20C Penguins Can Still Overheat
Emperor Penguins survive some of the most aggressive and cold temperatures throughout an Antarctic winter. Temperatures can plummet well below -20C and to keep warm they huddle together in groups and preserve their body heat as they are so tightly packed. The evidence is that this may be too effective in preserving heat and can cause the little guys to overheat. So how do they regulate their temperature and could someone let my daughter know so she doesn’t have to switch the heating on as soon as the temperature “plummets” to +15C!
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The most obvious behaviour is that penguins on the outskirts regularly muscle their way inside the huddle.
That is easily understandable. Those on the outside of the huddle face the direct hit of Antarctica’s icy wind chill.
But there is something else going on. The penguins on the inside get too hot, so after a while they need a little room to cool off.