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msc75
04-05-2001, 01:20 AM
Penguins have got to be one of the funniest animals on the face of the earth (giraffes are up there too).
So, my question is this: can you, in any American climate (I happen to live in Chicago), have a penguin as a pet without the need for a chilled room?
I know that there are tropical penguins... Anyone ever heard of someone keeping a penguin as a pet?

Now, before you write me off as a lunatic, think of how cool it would be to have a damn penguin waddling around your house.

BobT
04-05-2001, 01:23 AM
That penguin will likely be making a big mess in your home as I doubt you are going to get it housebroken. You will also have to find some unusual and likely expensive food for your penguin. I don't think you can open up a bag of Penguin Chow.

It will probably also make a lot of noise and get hostile because it's in a strange environment.

Personally, I would just get a basset hound. My brother has one and I think it's pretty cool.

msc75
04-05-2001, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by BobT


Personally, I would just get a basset hound. My brother has one and I think it's pretty cool.

Yeah, but basset hounds can't slide down an icy mountain.
And they can't bring me a Bud Ice.
And they don't look like they're wearing mini-tuxedos.

Frumious Bandersnatch
04-05-2001, 03:15 AM
Penguins would be the coolest pet (unintentional pun). Only one problem I can see. Every collection of penguins I have ever seen stinks so bad you can't spend too much time around them. In someones' home, you wouldn't have more than a couple so it might not be too bad, but trust me, 100 cats couldn't produce this much stench.

DougC
04-05-2001, 05:43 AM
- - - "Tropical penguins"? Like, the Bahamas? - MC

Broomstick
04-05-2001, 06:01 AM
Tropical penguins, like in the Galapagos islands. Penguins are native only in the Southern Hemisphere.

Also, penguins are vulnerable to the fungus aspergillosis (which I probably didn't spell exactly right) which does really bad things to the lungs. That is one reason they are typically kept behind glass or plexiglass at the zoo, to protect them from possible infection from wandering humans. And yes, like a lot of fish-eating seabirds they stink.

So you could probably keep one as a pet, but keeping it healthy might be very difficult. If you want a pet bird there are other species that make better pets.

Tapioca Dextrin
04-05-2001, 07:49 AM
And I hope you have a large salt water pond for your little colony to swim in. And a constant supply of raw fish.

Gyrate
04-05-2001, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by msc75
Originally posted by BobT
Personally, I would just get a basset hound. My brother has one and I think it's pretty cool.
Yeah, but basset hounds can't slide down an icy mountain.
And they can't bring me a Bud Ice.
And they don't look like they're wearing mini-tuxedos.
I used to have a basset hound. They are darned entertaining pets, but extremely stubborn. And they're not small dogs, either -- just short. Ours used to sit down during walks and refuse to budge; half the time I had to carry the thing home again.

They could probably bring you a Bud Ice, but might not give it to you once they got it there (and it would be covered in slobber), and the thought of a herd of basset hounds sliding down an icy mountain...heck, I'd pay money to watch that. Tuxedos sold separately. :D

Penguins, OTOH, are fishy-smelling and rather befuddled birds. I suspect the novelty would wear off quickly. What I want to know is: what's this I hear about people who have ostriches as pets? I would imagine that takes a big yard...

Evnglion
04-05-2001, 08:04 AM
In my favorite Anime series, Evangelion, one of the main charcters has a Penguin named Pen-Pen, but written like Pen^2....also my favorite OS in the world has a penguin as a mascot

screech-owl
04-05-2001, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by jr8
What I want to know is: what's this I hear about people who have ostriches as pets? I would imagine that takes a big yard... [/B]

Not necessarily for pets - food, eggs, skin (ostrich skin boots are quite popular and the ones I've seen are quite expensive) and feathers.

Unfortunately, the bottom seems to have dropped out of the ostrich/emu market, and several ostrich and emu ranchers have lost lots of money on the birds (one chick can run about $5,000, and up to $25,000+ for a breeding adult). In some cases, they will just open the gates and let the birds loose: I've received reports from confused drivers in eastern Orange County and Lake County who swear they are "...not drunk but I just saw an ostrich running down the road!" [Advice - call animal control.]

It takes a big yard, and one that is well-fenced, not only to keep the animal in, but dogs and curious and/or nefarious humans out. One good kick, however, and I'm sure they wouldn't be back too soon.

Then again, I knew people who had llamas in their yard.

As far as the OP, there are several species of tropical and temperate penguins - the Galapagos, as mentioned, the Black-footed (or Jackass) Penguins [South Africa], as well as a few species off the coast of Peru, not to mention the Fairy Penguins (or Litle Blue Penguins, as I've also seen) [New Zealand?]. Probably a few more, but most of my library is dedicated to Florida and Northa American birds, some South American passerines, and general field guide of other countries: general info, but not much on penguin locations.

Problems in keeping a penguin -

Special feed (how much herring, smelt and krill can you stockpile?]
Medical care - got a vet that deals in exotic birds on call?
Odor (not pretty)
Permits (required for keeping most protected animals in captivity, not to mention annual and surprise inspections of your facilities.
Odor (really not pretty)
Waste products - very liquid, and house-training is virtually impossible.
You can get a significant other, how about your penguin? Ready to double the size of the enclosure, provide nesting materials or dig a burrow (for the Galapagos)?
Don't know where you live, but are you going to stay on Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere season? (Several zoos switch the amount of artificial light for their penguin and koala exhibits, simulating longer S.H. summer daylight while we have our N.H. winter shorter days.)
Temperment - watching two Rockhoppers (known for their bad attitudes) fight was not pretty. Seeing the aftermath was worse. I imagine getting bitten is not fun, after seeing the damage they inflicted on each other.
Noise - they vocalize some of the strangest calls. [On tour at SeaWorld one day, my companion remarked that they sounded like several of the senile patients he transports daily (he's an ambulance driver) - the barking, moaning and chirring was about the oddest sounds I'd ever heard.
Odor (no more need be said....)

All in all, a nice thought, but stick with something more traditional. Mr. Popper just put his in the refrigerator ("Mr. Popper's Penguin" - can't remember the author), but there's a lot more to it. And of course, my main book on caring for exotic birds is missing.

Gyrate
04-05-2001, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by screech-owl
Originally posted by jr8
What I want to know is: what's this I hear about people who have ostriches as pets? I would imagine that takes a big yard...

Not necessarily for pets - food, eggs, skin (ostrich skin boots are quite popular and the ones I've seen are quite expensive) and feathers.[/B]
No, I knew about ostriches as "livestock" -- heck, I've eaten ostrich sausages, and a local market sells ostrich eggs (for eating, not fertilized ones) at 10 each. Them're some big eggs ( Why do the French only use one egg to make an omelette? Because un oeuf is enough.:))

I was just curious about those few oddballs I've heard about who keep one as a pet. But then, I've met people who have those Madagascar hissing cockroachs as pets, so I suppose it takes all types...

Zebra
04-05-2001, 10:27 AM
I've always wanted a penguin for a pet. I think it comes from story I read as a child where a family had a pet penguin. IIRC they had a fridge that had a freeze on the bottom (remember them?) and they tricked out the door so the penguin could open it by himself and go stand in the freezer for a while to cool off.

screech-owl
04-05-2001, 01:22 PM
Zebra -

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater

Captain Cook, followed by Greta, Columbus, Victoria, Nelson, Jenny, Magellan, Adelina, Scott, Isabella, Ferdinand, and Louisa.

It was a regular refrigerator. The penguin would peck at the silver handle (the book is from the 1940s, IIRC), so they bought another refrigerator for food, and let him (Captain Cook) have that one as a cool-off area.

screech-owl (who can remember the plot of a children's book she read mumblednumber years ago, but can't remember where she put the dagblasted file she had in her hands 15 minutes ago)

shelbo
04-05-2001, 08:01 PM
The Hyatt hotel in Maui had a bunch of penguins hopping around in a little pool in the lobby. Pretty cool. I don't remember the smell being too bad.

Duck Duck Goose
04-05-2001, 10:30 PM
Google. "Penguins pets". A link from http://stemnet.nf.ca/CITE/penguins.htm -- #7 "FAQs about Penguins".

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Peter_and_Barbara_Barham/faq.htm#pet
Can I keep a penguin as a pet?
Over the years we have often been asked about the possibility of keeping penguins as pets. We are no experts, but we have talked to several. They all are completely against the idea...[more]

Markxxx
04-06-2001, 12:00 AM
Though in the tropics penguins like cold water. Remember those "TROPICAL" penguins are near the Peru Current. Unlike the Gulf Stream which warms that cools.

It is thought that is why the Penguins are not a northern hemisphere spieces. They reach the warm water and turn back

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