Just about all animals start off small when they’re born, and grow to be a lot bigger — not just us humans, but all the birds, reptiles, fish and other critters out there. So our friend Libby O. asked us, how tall are baby penguins compared to their moms and dads? (and gave us an awesome penguin drawing, too!) It turns out this is an excellent question, because baby penguins are the smallest of all baby birds compared to the size of their parents. The biggest penguin, the emperor penguin, stands around 4 feet tall, while its babies are just 6 inches tall — and the eggs weigh only about 1/50th of their parents’ weight. Even for smaller types of penguins, the egg weighs only about 1/30th as much as the mom. Of course, it’s hard to track these things: while the male emperor penguin can weigh up to 100 pounds, he loses about 25 pounds while sitting on the eggs to keep them warm. Still, let’s hope he moves out of the way when the chick starts to chip its way out!
Wee ones: Who’s shorter, a 5-inch penguin chick or a 6-inch one?
Little kids: Penguin eggs have such a thick shell that it can take 3 days to hatch. If the chick starts chipping through on a Tuesday and pops out 3 days later, what day of the week is it? Bonus: On what day would the chick have to have started to break out on a Sunday?
Big kids: If you weighed 5 pounds when born and your mom weighed 30 times as much, how much did your mom weigh? Bonus: If the penguin egg weighs 11 ounces and the mom weighs 50 times as much, how much does the mom weigh? And for a megabonus, what’s that in pounds and ounces?
Wee ones: The 5-inch penguin.
Little kids: A Friday. Bonus: On Thursday.
Big kids: 150 pounds, which might have been right — not too different from some penguins! Bonus: 550 ounces, which is 34 pounds 6 ounces.