Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a new King Penguin chick has hatched! The new addition to the Moody Gardens penguin exhibit is being well cared for by its single mother.
“This is certainly an exciting way to kick off the month of love with Valentine’s Day just around the corner,” said Assistant Curator Diane Olsen. “We completed the renovation of our Aquarium Pyramid last year, including tweaking the exhibit to provide the best environment possible for the birds’ breeding success and this just shows that all that dedication has paid off.”
Male King Penguins’ mating season begins with a series of courtship rituals that includes loud calls and “parading.” Standing tall, King Penguins show off their physical physique in an attempt to impress their potential mates. Once the female has chosen their companion, they will harmoniously parade before officially mating. King penguins incubate their eggs on their feet, so no nest is needed.
Typically, once an egg is laid, both the male and female will stay with the egg and take turns incubating it; however, this was not the case with this particular chick and penguin mom Simone. This three-year-old penguin is a first-time mother who came to Moody Gardens a year ago from Sea World San Antonio and nurtured the egg by herself until it hatched. The mother continues to rear the chick on her own, leaving all to wonder who and where the father is.
“Simone is doing a great job caring for this chick. While we are keeping a watchful eye on it and her, I have full confidence that she will continue to take excellent care of her chick,” Olsen said. King Penguin eggs usually take about 54 days to hatch and the chick will become full grown after about 10 months.
Moody Gardens is holding a poll throughout their social media channels to determine the name of the new King Penguin. The options for the names included Grytviken, Amore, Sylvia Earle and Astro. The winner of the naming contest was 'Astro' after the current world champions of Major League Baseball: The Houston Astros!
They recently welcomed another King Penguin chick and will be naming it either Springer, Altuve, Correa or Verlander! Gotta love this Astros pride that Moody Gardens has! If you wanna vote, head on over to their Facebook page.