If we want to go surfing or swim in the cold waters of the ocean, we usually put on a wetsuit. Luckily for penguins, their tuxedo feathers keep them warm when they want to go for a dip. Unfortunately for Wonder Twin, a female Adelie penguin at SeaWorld Orlando, feather loss has caused the water she loves to swim in to be a little bit too cold.
Enter Maria Barreto, SeaWorld wardrobe craftsperson. She created the perfect — and most adorable — little wetsuit for the flightless bird. The new swimwear, which was designed to mimic the heat insulation Wonder Twin’s feathers provided, was custom made for the penguin.
But why the feather loss and need for the wetsuit in the first place?
“Penguins undergo what is called a catastrophic molt. Unlike most birds – which molt a few feathers at a time – penguins molt all of their feathers at once over a 2-3 week period,” Dyan deNapoli, senior penguin aquarist at New England Aquarium, told FoxNews.com. “During the molt, they cannot go into the water (they would freeze), so they must eat a tremendous amount of food during the month before the molt to store up enough fat to survive their enforced fast.”
Wonder Twin molted, but her feathers have not grown back. FoxNews.com reports that a SeaWorld spokesperson said the feather loss might not be permanent and that there is only one penguin in a wetsuit in its care.
Besides caring for a cute penguin in a wetsuit, SeaWorld has been undergoing efforts of conservation. The park is ending its breeding programs and choreographed animal entertainment shows and performances, FoxNews.com reports. Instead, SeaWorld will focus on education and viewing whales in a more natural setting. The first orca display will be unveiled at SeaWorld San Diego in 2017.
In the meantime, there’s the video of a penguin in a wetsuit that is too adorable not to watch.