If you like penguins, this post is for you! It is inspired by Drowsey Monkey, who has some penguins in her sidebar. I felt rather guilty when I was playing with them, since you can make them follow you, dictate their every move, all of them moving as one, none with a mind of their own. Then I suddenly realised that this was just how the penguins behaved when I was watching them in South Africa last summer. Let's look at the photos below:
So, here is a group. They are above the viewing platform, but they want to get to the sea, which is below the platform. This means that they have to waddle past us, but they are not too sure about that. You can almost hear their little brains ticking over:
"You go first - I'll follow."
"Oooh, I'll go too, if you go."
"Well, I'll go, if you go."
"You go first then."
"No, you go first."
"Well, someone has to go first."
"OK, I'll go first if you all follow me."
"OK then, go."
"OK, I'm going, are you following?"
"Yes, we are, go.........."
So, off they waddle, all watching each other and making sure that all are going. If even one hesitates, they all hesitate. And then..........
...........something spooks them. One of them falters, one of them vacillates, one of them starts to turn back, and then they all reverse waddle back, en masse, into the boulders.
"Did you see that?"
"I don't know, but I am sure that I saw something."
"Well, I am going back then."
"Well, if you're going back, so am I."
"Don't leave me."
"Wait for me."
When in Africa, I saw all the big ones - lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos -but of all the animals that I saw, the penguins won my heart. Look at that face - how could you not love them? OK, so they are not all cuddly and furry, they are not magnificent, fierce, impressive or imposing with their strength and power. But they are so comical and endearing. Their faces and body language is very expressive. They are curious and inquisitive and I love the way they seem as interested in you as you are in them. Now, that might be because they are worried that you are about to eat them, but perhaps, just perhaps, they think we are curious and cute too.
Here is a teenaged penguin - ready to fly the coop - oh, wait, no, hop, jump, waddle or swim the coop.
These photos were taken at Betty's Bay in South Africa.