These Boots Were Made for Pecking!

Visitors to a new walk-through penguin attraction are being advised to choose their footwear carefully.

The Humboldt penguins in the brand new enclosure at Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary are demonstrating a vehement dislike for a popular Australian brand of boots.
These Boots Were Made for Pecking!
These Boots Were Made for Pecking! The two youngest birds in particular - hand-reared pair Rico and Skipper - will chase anyone wearing the suede or fur covered boots and peck repeatedly at their toes and ankles.

The penguin walk, a supervised trek through the enclosure with no barriers between visitors and birds, was an innovative new feature introduced after a £300,000 redevelopment of the Sanctuary´s penguin attraction.
It also saw the former colony of 12 South American Humboldt penguins welcome six new captive-bred additions from Belgium and hand-reared pair Rico and Skipper from another UK wildlife centre.

"We opened at Easter and it´s been a tremendous success so far," said boss Richard Dilly.
These Boots Were Made for Pecking!
These Boots Were Made for Pecking! "The walk-through follows a set route, and the penguins can approach or keep their distance as they choose. They seem completely relaxed with the whole business, until someone appears wearing those boots. Then Rico and Skipper and one or two of the others will try to see them off with a series of well-aimed pecks."

"The boots protect their wearers from any harm, but it´s clearly disconcerting for them to have their feet pecked constantly until they are safely out of the enclosure."
The animal care team are baffled...but speculate that the fur covered footwear triggers an inherited memory of predatory seals, and the penguins instinctively want to chase those boots away.

Appropriate warnings are now being issued prior to every walkthrough, and several boot-clad visitors have passed up the opportunity as a result.
Penguins Enclosure
Press Release issued by the Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary
For more details please contact: Lia Bull on 01723 373414
Date: 2nd June 2015

¦ Back ¦