Penguins in Pots
Last post we talked about how most penguins prefer isolated island habitats. Well, if you have ever visited Cape Town you may have seen plenty of penguins on the mainland, at colonies like Boulders Beach. Why aren’t land predators chasing them off? One of the reasons penguins do so well here is people have given them a helping hand by setting up a nearly perfect environment. At Boulders Beach, there is a plastic penguin colony set up, in the form of dozens of partially buried heavy-duty plastic pots. Each of these houses a penguin – they serve as little penguin bungalows in place of the usual rock and dirt burrows the birds would otherwise seek out. Fences keep people from bothering the resting penguins and discourage predators – the only other vertebrate I saw hanging out in the nesting area on my visit was a harmless hyrax.