Penguin sledding


Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica, Christmas Day Imagine yourself laying on your belly in the snow with your arms and feet splayed outwards. Using your belly as a sled you paddle your arms and legs to propel yourself forwards, if you do this, you are now a penguin.

Penguins will lay down on their belly and extend their front flippers while gently kicking with their toes, almost like paddling. Their smooth bellies mostly free of friction allow them to slide with relative ease. I have seen them slide down hills with glee, sometimes taking small tumbles but for the most part executing this move with grace. Should the hill be really steep they err on the side of caution and waddle down on their feet.

The tracks left by Adélie penguins made a rather long S shape in the snow, I find it hilarious as they depict exactly how this penguin gingerly sled across the frozen sea ice of Wilhelmina bay.

Moving in this fashion can be very efficient, important for both conserving energy and preventing themselves from overheating as penguins are very well insulated and overheating is a real problem on warm summer days.

Canon EOS 5D, 16-35mm f 2.8L lens, 1/125s f/8.0 ISO50 35mm

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