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Penguin Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 What Is an Adaptation?
  • 0:38 Adaptations for Water
  • 1:16 Adaptations for Land
  • 2:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

Penguins are unique creatures that spend time on land and in water. They have interesting traits that allow them to live in both places, which are called adaptations. Continue with this lesson to discover more about penguins' fascinating adaptations.

What Is an Adaptation?

Have you ever gone outside during autumn to realize that it's much too cold for your thin jacket? You probably went back inside for a thicker coat. This is a lot like adaptation, characteristics caused when an animal adapts, or makes changes, to survive in its habitat. Penguins have physical and behavioral adaptations that allow them to survive.

Penguins are interesting: they live on land and spend large amounts of time swimming underwater, too! They have special adaptations that allow them to swim for long times as well as adaptations that help them survive on land. Let's take a closer look at penguins' adaptations.

Adaptations for Water

Different types of penguins spend lots of time underwater, such as emperor penguins, king penguins, little penguins, and Adélie penguins. The penguin's body is designed to swim underwater. One adaptation is that a penguin's wings turn into flippers so it can glide through the water with speed and ease.

Its wings and chest also have strong muscles that give the penguin the strength to propel, or move itself forward. And its bones are very solid, which allows penguins to swim underwater more easily instead of naturally floating to the top.

A penguin also adapts to the water by squeezing its head and feet towards its body. This helps it to navigate and steer itself better underwater.

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