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The funny looking, little, black and white penguins that we see waddling across the ice packs of Antartica are called Emperor penguins.

There are several species of penguin, but the emperor penguin is the largest, followed closely by the king penguin. The emperor penguin's home is Antartica. They are not prey to many, but occasionally they will become a meal for the leopard seal or the killer whale. So the 300,000 emperor penguins in Antartica are subject to death mostly from natural causes. They can live to be 20 years old.

Their diet plays an important part in their health. They are accomplished hunters of fish, squid and shrimp. Males need to feed more than the female. He has to store as much food as he can to prepare for the breeding season. He may not be able to feed from March to July.

When the breeding season begins in March, the parents share in the responsibility. Since Antartica provides very few safe nesting areas. The parents must keep the egg with them to protect it from the extremely harsh cold. The male penguin will be the one to incubate the egg until 3-4 days before hatching. The female penguin returns from feeding for the hatching of their tiny offspring. It is time for the male to take a well earned break and feed to regain his much needed body weight, to survive. After, the young hatches the male and female take part in feeding and raising the young. With both parents feeding him, the chick grows very quickly. The chicks are fully grown at two years and becomes sexually mature at three years of age.

Emperor penguins number over 300,000. The emperor penguin is not in any immediate danger. But, with humans expanding into the harsher environments they have the potential of being threatened.