A bird that cannot fly is proof that god has a sense of humor, useless wings are quite good for an evolutionary chuckle. There is a whole group of miserable birds that will never know the joys of flight, whose entire existence is the butt of a joke – penguins.
Penguins are an aquatic bird mostly found in the southern hemisphere. Many people associate penguins with cold Antarctic scenery, but many species of penguin actually live in warmer climates, including the Galapagos penguin which lives in its namesake islands just north of the equator.
The birds spend half their lives in the ocean, swimming around on the hunt for a meal. Their wings actually aren’t so useless, as they have evolved into flippers that give the penguin a dynamic range of motion underwater. This allows them to chase down krill, squid, and fish in the ocean’s waters. After filling themselves on delicious sea life, they return to land and may have to waddle miles to return to their young with the meal.
The largest penguin species is the emperor penguin, which reaches about three and a half feet in height, while the smallest, the little blue penguin, stands at a mere sixteen inches. Following Bergmann’s rule, the larger species live in colder regions, with the smaller penguins living in warmer climates.
Aside from catching food and looking after their young, some penguins have another job — street-waddler. Yes, penguins have been observed participating in the oldest profession, prostitution. Partnered female Adelie penguins will have sex with unpartnered males and in exchange take rocks from the male’s nest which she will then use to further build her own nest.
Did we mention penguins are super cute? These little birds show up tattooed on people’s bodies all the time. Here’s some recent examples of penguin tattoos that are totally chill.
Penguins don’t just make for a great tattoo subject, they can also be outfitted with missile-launching backpacks, if the documentary film Batman Returns is to be believed.