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These penguins found a camera, then they hammed it up

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‘Why are they spying on us?’

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Video: Australian Antarctic Division

A pair of emperor penguins in Antarctica filmed themselves with a camera that had been left on the ice by an explorer.

In the short video, posted by the Australian Antarctic Division, you can see one penguin approach the camera, somehow flick it up so that it’s focused on its face, and then a second penguin joins. They both curiously stare down at the lens before losing interest. One of the penguins is even saying something — a vocalization I decided to interpret as, “Why are they spying on us?”

The birds have long beaks and threatening-looking claws. (You can take a quick peek at them at the beginning of the video when the first penguin arrives.) Their bellies look incredibly soft and cuddly — a white pillow of fat. In fact, they need that fat to stay warm.

Video: Australian Antarctic Division

Emperor penguins live in Antarctica, where they can face blizzards of up to 124 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour), according to the Australian Antarctic Division. They’re the largest penguin species in the world, standing 45 inches (114 centimeters) tall and weighing up to 88 pounds (40 kilograms). They live in colonies of a few hundred to over 20,000 pairs. These colonies — and those of other penguin species — are so big that their poop smears on the snow and ice can be seen from space.

The two curious penguins in the video filmed themselves at the Auster Rookery, a penguin colony near the Australian Mawson research station. “Australian Antarctic expeditioner, Eddie Gault, left the camera on the ice when visiting the rookery,” the Australian Antarctic Division wrote, “and it didn’t take long for the naturally curious birds to seize the opportunity for a selfie.”

That’s cute. But let’s not forget that some other penguins with a knack for cinematography can be utterly terrifying. Here’s one example: