A Dapper Duo: Tennessee Aquarium Hatches A Pair Of Fluffy, Healthy Penguin Chicks

Monday, July 8, 2019 - by Casey Phillips

There are few things more likely to coax a smile from a Tennessee Aquarium employee than the hatching of a penguin chick. Except, of course, when two chicks waddle onto the scene at the same time.

 

Looking like nothing so much as adorably pudgy, grey-and-white balls of feathery fluff, the Aquarium recently welcomed a pair of chicks — one Gentoo Penguin, one Macaroni Penguin — into the colony at Penguins’ Rock.

The chicks finished their hours-long pipping effort (the process of breaking through their eggs) on June 9.

 

The first four weeks of life are fraught with obstacles to a chick’s survival. During this important period in their development, the birds have been continually observed on-exhibit and carefully removed by a team of animal care specialists for tri-weekly checkups by Aquarium staff veterinarian, Dr. Chris Keller.

 

The birds were weighed for the first time within 36 hours of hatching and were found to be robust, with above-average weights. Specialists have continued to monitor their development and behavior, and the chicks have been growing at a healthy rate, said Senior Aviculturist Loribeth Lee.

 

“They are right within the weight range they should be and are doing well,” Ms. Lee said. “Growth will slow down, obviously, but their gains have been impressive.”

 

For now, the chicks will remain nameless. Their names will be officially selected later this year via a popular-vote contest on the Aquarium’s Facebook page.

 

The chicks’ genders will remain similarly undetermined until results are returned from tests administered during the penguins’ next semi-annual physical. A drop of the chicks’ blood will be sent to a lab, and a DNA report will be available a few days later.

 

Since the opening of Penguins’ Rock in 2007, 22 chicks — five Macaronis and 17 Gentoos — have hatched and been raised at the Aquarium. These newest arrivals are the offspring of parents with plenty of experience raising healthy chicks. The Macaroni chick is the fourth for its mother, Chaos, and the second for its father, Merlin. The Gentoo is the sixth for veteran parents Bug and Big T, who also raised Big Foot, the colony’s youngest bird prior to the arrival of the newest chicks.

 

For now, Ms. Lee says, the hatchlings are proving “strong and vocal” and will soon begin to exhibit distinct personalities. During the early weeks of their life, they will eat continuously, reaching their full size in less than a year. Within about 75 days, they will have fledged, growing a coat of waterproof feathers that allow them to leave the nest, swim and fend for themselves.

 

Even after raising almost two dozen chicks, the arrival of newcomers to Penguins’ Rock is always cause for excitement, said Senior Animal Care Specialist Holly Gibson.

 

“Having chicks this year is exciting,” she said. “It was nice to have an off-year last year, but everybody loves penguin babies.”

 

Penguin fans can check in on the Gentoo Penguin chick and its parents via the Aquarium’s Penguins’ Rock webcam, viewable online at tnaqua.org/animals-exhibits/penguins-rock-cam/


A Dapper Duo: Tennessee Aquarium Hatches A Pair Of Fluffy, Healthy Penguin Chicks

New Outdoor Waterpark To Be Built In Sevierville

Eagle's Nest On Lookout Was Planned As Hanging Gardens


There are few things more likely to coax a smile from a Tennessee Aquarium employee than the hatching of a penguin chick. Except, of course, when two chicks waddle onto the scene at the same ... (click for more)

Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks ownership group on Monday announced that they will be building a new attraction in the Smoky Mountain region called Soaky Mountain Waterpark. The new massive ... (click for more)

There are still reminders on the lower slopes of Lookout Mountain of the planned "Hanging Gardens" that were to have transformed an old quarry into a majestic park. Milton Ochs, younger brother ... (click for more)


Travel

A Dapper Duo: Tennessee Aquarium Hatches A Pair Of Fluffy, Healthy Penguin Chicks

There are few things more likely to coax a smile from a Tennessee Aquarium employee than the hatching of a penguin chick. Except, of course, when two chicks waddle onto the scene at the same time. Looking like nothing so much as adorably pudgy, grey-and-white balls of feathery fluff, the Aquarium recently welcomed a pair of chicks — one Gentoo Penguin , one Macaroni Penguin ... (click for more)

New Outdoor Waterpark To Be Built In Sevierville

Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks ownership group on Monday announced that they will be building a new attraction in the Smoky Mountain region called Soaky Mountain Waterpark. The new massive 50-acre outdoor waterpark will be located across the street and up the hill from the Sevierville Convention Center and Wilderness at the Smokies Resort. An official ground breaking for VIPS ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Small Plane Crashes Near Dunlap

A small plane crashed on Wednesday at Cagle Mountain near Dunlap. Authorities said the pilot was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital. He was described as in his mid-to-late 50s or 60s. There were no passengers, it was stated. Based on the plane's registration number, it was a Glasair amateur-built experimental plane. It was built in Canada in 2002. The pilot was described ... (click for more)

Smedley, Smith, Boyd, Bankston, Graham Among Candidates Mentioned For 2020 County Mayor Race With Coppinger Possibly Retiring

It may be three years away, but candidates are lining up for the 2022 county mayor race with Jim Coppinger possibly retiring. County Mayor Coppinger said his focus is on continued progress during the current four-year term. Political observers believe he tipped his hat on this being his final term by coming out for a school tax that is unpopular in some circles and lost out on ... (click for more)

Opinion

Opinion Correction: Erlanger Does Not Offer $20,000 Nurse Signing Bonuses

An opinion in Chattanoogan.com on Monday said Erlanger Health Systems had $20,000 nurse signing bonuses. Erlanger officials said that is another local hospital - not Erlanger. Columnist Roy Exum said, "In a story that I wrote on July 15, “A Nursing Shortage?” I mistakenly identified Erlanger Hospital as one hospital that offers prospective nurses a $20,000 signing bonus. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Use 'Tags' At Erlanger

When I was a senior in high school, the Vietnam catastrophe held the guys who were in my class spellbound. Back then, and has since been proven again and again, the conflict was a terrible error in our nation’s judgment and almost 60,000 young and promising Americans died in some stinking South Asian battle zone that didn’t mean squat to our freedom or our nation’s future. In ... (click for more)