Last updated on September 27th, 2022
While watching a program about penguins on television, I found that their distinctive manner of walking is known as waddling.
I knew penguins were excellent swimmers, but I didn’t know they were not comfortable walking on land. A biologist told me that penguins are ungainly on land.
Penguins use their momentum along with a side-to-side shuffling to aid their waddle while stretching out their forelimbs to maintain balance whenever they’re speedwalking, however, as their pace slows, their forelimbs remain close to their body.
Why do penguins waddle?
The legs of the penguins are designed to help them swim faster in water.
But their movement appears ungainly when they walk on land because of their legs’ structure.
Their short legs do not allow them to walk like other birds or animals. Instead, they shuffle and move in a fashion that appears like a waddle.
According to scientists, a penguin’s legs are built primarily for swimming and not for walking.
Hence, the birds waddle on land as if out of their element.
Do penguins have legs or just feet?
Penguins have legs and feet. They have webbed feet with claws, which is helpful in hunting and swimming.
Penguins have legs, knees, and feet. Their legs have powerful muscles, which makes it easier for them to swim.
The common notion would be that powerful leg muscles mean they can easily walk on land.
But the shape of their legs and their bodies prevent it. Hence, they waddle when they are on land.
Do penguins have short legs?
It is a misconception to think that penguins have short legs. On the contrary, they have long legs that are covered with feathers.
Emperor penguins are pretty tall and can reach a height of 1.3metres. However, their legs are relatively long compared to their body.
The primary reason is that they use their legs to steer their body while swimming.
Do penguins have knees?
According to the website, https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-penguins-have-knees penguins have knees, but this does not prevent them from waddling.
Normally you would expect the knees to help the bird gain greater flexibility. As a result, the penguin should be able to walk like other birds.
However, the penguin’s knees help them swim more efficiently as it does with assisting them in properly walking on land.
Do penguins use more energy to waddle?
It is evident from how the penguins walk that these birds use less energy to waddle since this gait is more efficient than a human’s walk.
Penguins use an average of 75-80% less energy to waddle.
Due to the climatic conditions of the penguin’s habitat, it is essential for these flightless birds to conserve as much energy as they can.
It is normal to think that swimming requires more energy. But in the case of penguins, it is the opposite.
You will find that penguins can swim quite easily. However, when they have to walk on land, they waddle with great difficulty and use double the energy to walk compared to swimming.
Interested in learning more about the different animals that waddle? Check out that article for more information.
Is the shape of a penguin responsible for its gait?
The peculiar shape of a penguin’s body is ideal for swimming but not for walking on land.
Hence, if you are wondering if the shape of a penguin’s body is responsible for its gait, then you are not mistaken.
The penguin’s body is streamlined to make it easier for it to swim. But the same body shape makes it difficult for the bird to move swiftly on land.
Hence, you will find that penguins walk in a waddling fashion on land.