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Penguin Pets 86

Ellis D writes "It looks like pengiuns could make a good house pet according to an article over at ScienceDaily Mag. " Once again I just want an AIBO- they feed/recharge themselves. I imagine feeding a penguin would be a somewhat frightening experience. But a puffin would be so cute *grin*.
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Penguin Pets

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  • I would prefer a Misoto.
  • Remember that Budweiser commercial (dooobie doobie doo.....)

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  • I didn't say they LOOKED awkward, I said they WERE awkward. Penguins are best suited to slide on Ice, and swim. They're not runners.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yea, having a pen-pen would be great. As long as it could sit at the table reading a newspaper and drinking a beer.
  • Ok, let me get this straight: there's a hormone in the blood whose level is an indicator of stress. How do you measure this hormone without stressing out the penguin? Presumably, you have to take a blood sample... I think if a researcher runs up to a penguin and jabs a needle into it, you're going to get an inflated value.

    Perhaps there are other ways. Hmm... anyone know any good hacks for measuring chemicals in penguin blood without freaking out the penguin? Here's all I can think of, so far:

    • Kill the penguin with something that works instantly. BLAM! Rocket blows up penguin, then go over and sample the bloody gibs.
    • Perhaps the chemical comes out in excrement, which can be sampled as leisure.
  • The penguin logo sucks. I MUST GO!

    Yes, you must. :P
  • a penguin exploding or imploding.. that would be something i'd pay to see
  • i had a goat once and when it died of malnutrition we picked it up and put it in a trashbag and placed it on the curb.

    hehehahah,i'm sorry, this had me rolling around the floor laughing
  • Isn't the hormone emitted in the breath of the penguin? Then you could put the penguin in an isolated room, leave it there for a period (So it will calm down). Then you test the air in the room for that hormone, stressing the penguin and testing again... That, I think, will give accurate information on how stressed the penguin is.
  • Just because the LINUX mascot is Tux the penguin doesn't mean that every article related to penguins needs to be posted.

    The article is about people visiting penguin habitats, not the other way around.

    And as someone mentioned, they stink.
  • As the alt tag for the little bare-foot icon says: "Its funny: Laugh".

  • I recall a few months ago that my mom, whos obsessed with Animal Planet and Home & Garden TV and all those other channels that have the pet shows, she told me that they were able to breed penguins that can live in North American climates and that can be kept as pets. I'll look around later tonight when I'm bored and see if I can find some info to back that up, then post a link.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But will penguins get their own beer from the fridge?
  • This article was about humans invading their territory. From the summary of the article, it seems that they are interested in the effects of human development upon the little guys.

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • I hope they don't. It makes us look a bit foolish considering the article had absolutely nothing to do with keeping penguins as pets. But I bet your right about one thing... they will probably be surprised (sorely). Not that it matters much. The report uses heads turning as an indicator of penguins acceptance of humans in their habitat. It's not the most definitive scientific piece I've seen.


    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • I suspect that if someone did build one it would not have The Penguin at it's heart. :-(
  • Penguins falling over [] was debunked by the AFU crowd. Follow the link for more details. dave
  • I live in the South Island od New Zealand and we have a few native species of penguins.
    The most common is a species called little blues.
    They are about as big as a small chicken.
    Just recently there was a current affairs story on TV where somebody was having serious problems with penguins nesting under their house. Apparently their chicks make a lot of noise, and they smell quite strongly of fish. I don't think that these birds would be much fun to have as a pet as I think they have a tendency to nip.
    Also in NZ I think it's illegal to have tham as pets as they are very strongly protected, another problem those people in the TV story were having as, to move them required special permission from the authorities.
  • We've always had birds. When we were in Greece, my grandma kept chickens right behind her house. We use to chase them all day. Then we had a duck when we were in Gibbons, it was better than a dog (no sloppy kisses!) And over the years we've had seven budgies. One of them died recently and now the one left behind is super friendly, tho he figures I have nothing better to do than stand in front of the cage with his yellow mirror so he can look at himself and kiss it. When I go to sit back down, he ruffles once, ruffles twice, then swoops at me.
    At least a penguin can't do that!
  • Penguin eggs - like large chicken eggs, but with a bright red yolk...mmmm

    Penguins are also very susceptible to fleas and ticks and are so noisy even with triple glazing we couldn't shut out the noise when we lived in the Falklands!!

  • I hope that no one would ever actually adopt a penguin, and that these remarks are facetious.

    Dogs are unique in their ability to be companion animals. Most dogs love people and view them as members of their own pack. It is hard to imagine a penguin running up to a strange human and demanding to be petted, but dogs do it all the time.

    Please adopt a dog, cat, bird or rabbit from your local animal shelter, and stay away from exotic and/or illegal pets.

  • that's be cool, especially for college..."But, professor, Tux DID eat my homework!!!!" :-)

    Wow, now I really can have a Pen-Pen!

    Oh...or a Tux I suppose, but Pen-Pen is better.


    Tom Byrum
  • My house is already too cold as it is. Besides, how would you get it to sit on top of your monitor all the time?

  • that I've READ the article it doesn't really have anything to do with having penguins as pets. Perhaps the article should have (-1, Offtopic) next to it. :-)

    Slashdot: It's not news unless we say it is.

    Tom Byrum
  • British pilots would do this in the Falkland Islands for amusment. Sounds pretty funny to me, the sight of 10,000 penguins slowly falling over backwards in unison.
  • by InfiniterX ( 12749 ) on Saturday July 03, 1999 @08:53AM (#1819558) Homepage
    ...about how Air Force pilots would fly over flocks of penguins on the ground. The penguins would turn their heads up to look at the plane, and the penguins weren't bright enough to realize that if they turned their heads back too far, they'd fall over. Supposedly these pilots would do this a lot just to watch an entire flock of penguins fall over on their backs.

    Was this just an urban legend? Anyone else know anything about this?
  • Its neve too cold for a penguin! If its too cold for you, there are fuzzy and cuddly penguins and can be found at linuxmall []. I have a few proudly hacking away on my webcam [].
  • Anyone else remember that book from grade school? A man got a lot of penguins and kept them in his basement after they multiplied and outgrew the icebox. Imagine having a basement full of little Tuxes :)
  • when their offbeat trivia piece on penguins gets 50,000 hits. I wonder if they'll figure it out.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hey, if they can do a dog, why not a Penguin?
  • Hehehe. :-) Maybe Sony would make the AI-Pen in co-operation with Gainax/Project Eva. I could just see it now... Eva and AIBO fans unite.

    If it comes from man, it will fail.
    If it comes from god, It will succeed.

  • I was at the New England Aquarium [] a couple of weeks ago and watched them feed the penguins. They eat fish out of the keepers' hands. They were the small, noisy kind, though. Might be harder with an emperor penguin.

  • Just because a pengiun can dive deep, doesn't make them a mountain goat. Pengiuns are actually very awkward animals when it comes to balancing. Ever seen a pengiun walk?

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Yeah, pengiuns are cute, and it would be neet to have one waddle around the house, but have you SMELLED a pengiun lately? Ever passed the pengiun pen at a zoo? It smells terrible.

    Plus, as far as I know, penguins are akin to taking a shit wherever they damn well please. So if your happy little penguin takes to using that open computer on the floor as a toilet.....

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • >Then at the end, they start putting some in the Artic circle.

    That might be kinda cruel, given that penguins live in the Southern hemisphere...
  • Ah, yes, I remember the teacher reading it when I was in fourth grade. I think we made penguin drawings too. And the icebox -- that would be the problem. You'd have to keep them climate controlled. I don't think the penguins would like it much here. It's 10:23 pm and still 80F. (Of course, many winters it gets down to -40F (-40C) too! -- Thats probably too cold!) BTW, I live in northwestern MN.
  • I hope nobody seriously tries to keep a penguin for a pet.

    Once the novelty of owning a penguin wears off, and cruel owners flush them down the toilet, there will begin a penguin plauge in our sewer system!

    There shall begin an underground Linux movement, and those who aspire against us shall have their asses bitten in the bathroom by hungry penguins!

  • Try feeding a puffin. Have you noticed the shape of their beaks? Kind of unusual. They're about as wide at the base as they are long. This, obviously, makes it easier for them to bite down real hard on you finger, and to even cut it clear off.
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Saturday July 03, 1999 @07:21PM (#1819579)
    Most penguin species prefer fairly temperate weather.

  • >>Then at the end, they start putting some in the Artic circle.

    >That might be kinda cruel, given that penguins live in the Southern hemisphere...

    No, you see, the whole point was that the Arctic explorers were BORED with the North Pole, since they didn't have any cute animals to play with. (The polar bears weren't playful, for some reason.) So these penguins would be pioneers, extra-intelligent playthings for the humans up north.
    It now strikes me as kinda strange that:
    a) Mr. Popper rushes off to the North Pole for a year to help acclimate his penguins to the new environment, and his wife seems happy with it, and his kids get no say -- is he supposed to be a family man?
    2) Um, sure, let's introduce those 'guins to a totally new environment, just so we can play with 'em, 'cause they're SO CUUUUTE. Can we say "ecology"? Sure, it's a kid's story, but those kids go on to make decisions that influence important shtuff, like...oh, never mind.

    But still, it was a good book. I liked "Charlotte's Web" and "Trumpet of the Swan" better, though. E.B. White -- a real writer. "The Elements of Style" is still *the* handbook for budding quill-users.
  • Weeeelll, I dunno. Putting it in a room might freak him out too. What is he goes stir crazy? You'll have to fit him with cyber implants and plug him into The Matrix so he thinks he's back on the ice flow, milling around, diving for fishies, etc.

  • Can't they read the articles before they just start blurting out things?! First magical hard drives and now pet penguins... next thing you know, they will be promoting websites for bending spoons.

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • Lemme see. If I remember back that far correctly, that would be MR. TOPPER'S PENGUINS or somesuch.

    Came irresitibly to mind here, too. :-)


  • >So if your happy little penguin takes to using that open computer on the floor as a toilet....
    ... a well behaved penguin will only do that if said computer runs Windows.
  • Nah, it doesn't say that... you can't have penguins as pets because, #1, it's illegal everywhere in the US i believe, #2, this just says that they get *less* frightened when people are around.. they're still doing 40 head checks a minute (which is pretty fast...), so they're quite worried about predators when people are there. They may adapt quickly to having people in their habitat, but I doubt they adapt quickly to being in the habitat of people.

    It is an offtopic comment to a neato article, though.. and grats on getting it posted.
  • Wouldn't be hard -- if the firmware can be swapped out, an AIBO-style device could just have pluggable AI (okay, not real AI, but some suitable falsification thereof). You could install a penguin brain into your electronic dog, which would then try to waddle around the house, make scrarking noises (what noises DO penguins make, anyway?), favor cold places, and rub itself contentedly against the UNIX machines in the house.

    I think there was some cyberpunk-type sci-fi novel that included animals whose personality had been overwritten with that of another animal -- dogs, mostly, being overwritten with other critters (one tried to fly and got killed, I remember).

  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Saturday July 03, 1999 @10:50AM (#1819588) Homepage Journal
    It may be illegal, but that hasn't stopped many people from having exotic pets of all kinds. If they are caught, there are always ways to accomodate the legal rules, execpt if you happen to have a big cat or something that frightens neighbors. The rule is if someone complains, you have some explaining to avoid some very stiff fines and penalties.
  • As far as I remember, the cartoon was based on the news story...
  • Nevertheless, if the computer runs Windows, it's capable of running Linux. Nothing wrong with the hardware. :P

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Yeah, a Misato would be nice. But it's sooo easy to clone Rei. Where can i order one of her?
  • Where would you find a can of pickled herring guts? I mean, it's not like you can just run over to the 7/11.
  • Oh man, that was one of the first books I ever read. He has to get another penguin for the original one to be happy, and they start mateing, and they have a basement full of penguins. Then they did like a live show with the penguins, and then they stuck the penguins in a jail cell. Then at the end, they start putting some in the Artic circle.

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  • Tux is not a logo. He is a mascot. Just as the KDE dinosaur is a mascot, not a logo. Mascots CAN be cute, cuddly, and all that jazz.
  • Chicks dig penguins.... hehe... and they're like birds and stuff
  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Saturday July 03, 1999 @11:31AM (#1819604) Journal
    this article is a good example of why I do not call behavioral guessers "scientists." I did not see a certain possibility mentioned, and I doubt highly that the "scientists" considered it at all. The reason I doubt this is because I have examined many behavioral guessing studies and have never seen this angle considered... What I am refering to is this: will the people of the /. community conceed to me that it is possible that the penguins who nested near the trail perhaps were less nervous -in general- than the ones in remote areas? First, the ones in remote areas already show themselves to be less social by simple fact that they are in a remote area vrs closer to the rest of the penguins. Second, the trail presumably has been there for a while (at least a few years), but I would venture to say that penguins probably make a new nest each year. Point being, the penguins who were less nervous around people still showed signs of stress, just less of it. Never the less, they made their nests close to and withing the main group (to which the trail leads) because they were more social penguins than the others. This, and this alone, explains why they are less nervous. If no man had ever been there, I assert one could still find the same results by comparing penguins in the more remote areas to the ones who are closer together. Now, granted-if someone wanted to have a penguin as a pet, it would make sense to have a more social penguin. This is how domestication takes place, after all. You take the group that is the most docile, most social, or whatever quality you want. You breed those. From the new batch, you take the most of that group, and breed those. So on and so forth. This study proved nothing more than something that should be common sense: within a society (be it penguins, humans, dogs, whatever) there are some members that are more social than other members. The more social members tend to group together, by nature of their being more social. The less social tend to be more isolationistic (if thats not a word, it should be). The trail, according to the article, goes into the heart of the penguin colony-therefore where the most social penguins are. I think I've made my point in as many ways as possible now... oh, BTW, someone mentioned that the article said the less frightened penguins still did 40 head-turns a minute, vrs the 200 from the others. the article never says it is 40 a minute. It didn't specify the time span at all, actually. It says that "after 15 minutes of exposure" it was 40 vrs 200. They might have meant "DURING 15 mintes of exposure.." because to say "after" means it came "after" (duh) the 15 mintes. So, it is possible that the 40 head turns were within 15 minutes, otherwise the time is unspecified. Makes more sense. The nervous ones did it 200 times-can you imagine how fast -that- would be, if it was in 1 minute?
  • First, I haven't read the actual stufy, but...
    1. the article didn't say that the "remote" penguins lived farther from the center of the colony. it could equally be judged by distance from the trail. Your "less social" conclusion relies on the assumption that the trail travels directly through the "main group", whereas I would think "right into" could cover a wide variety of situations. A road going "right into" Manhattan does not necesarially pass nearby all the buildings in Manhattan, or even all of those occupied by Manhattans most social people.
    2. Your argument isn't especially supported by fact.
      After 10 days of having people around, the "remote" penguins' rate of head-turning was as low as that of the "tourist trail" penguins. However, while the "remote" penguins' corticosterone levels also dropped during this time period, they still remained higher than "tourist trail" levels.
      If it was a function merely of the personalities of the penguins involved, why did the more remote ones stop being stressed by the presence of humans? The corticosterone levels of the "remote" penguins remaining higher might support your argument, but the dropping corticosterone levels and head-turning after 10 days is rather against it. Did the penguins become more social?

    Not to say that the study is certainly correct, or that you're obviously wrong, but it seems to me, that without reading an actual paper on the study, knowing the location of the trail, the density of penguins at the trail and at the "remote" site, and many other details, it's unfair to dismiss the researchers as "guessers", and impossible to theorise on alternative explanations to the experiment. At least impossible without guessing.

  • We could breed pet penguins and use the money to fund OSS projects and Alternative OS development.
  • I was thinking the exact same thing. ^_-


Air is water with holes in it.