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Q: What Color is Penguin Poop? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: What Color is Penguin Poop?
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: dbishop-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 06 Aug 2003 15:57 PDT
Expires: 05 Sep 2003 15:57 PDT
Question ID: 240878
What color is penguin poop? My friend has a beautiful poster of a
group of penguins in his office. In one area of the poster I noticed a
blob of green and commented that it must be penguin poop. My friend
says that penguin poop is white because they eat only fish and it
could only be green if they ate plant matter. There's a cold frosty
one riding on the outcome. Experts take note!
Subject: Re: What Color is Penguin Poop?
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 06 Aug 2003 17:24 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I believe I have found the answer to the question of the color of
penguin feces. It seems that both you and your friend may be correct.
Penguin guano can come in several colors, depending upon the penguin's
diet at the time:

"Another useful piece of information shared by the expedition
biologists was how the color of the guano determines how the penguins
are faring. Pink-brown (as seen in the picture) means that the
penguins are eating plenty of krill, which is usually abundant and
easy to catch. If the guano is white, it means the penguins are eating
fish, which is considerably harder to catch than krill, and therefore
is energetically more expensive to eat. Finally, if the guano is
green, the penguins are eating algae. This is usually the sign of a
bad year for the penguins."

Personal Pages of John Källén: Gerlache Strait

"The diet of a Gentoo Penguin is visible in its guano - pink when
eating krill, white when eating fish, green when molting and living on
its stomach contents."

Cybamuse: Gentoo Penguins

Much to my astonishment, I have learned that penguin ploppings are
most often pink. Really, I am not making this up. Pink.

"The Chinstrap Penguin rookery is thickly coated in pink penguin
guano. The constant dampness supports a thick, old fish market kind of

Goleta Natural History Museum - Penguins

"He makes no secret of the fact that he loves Adélie penguins. Changes
here are not limited to new species moving in. Indeed, the Adélies are
dying off, and fast. Imagine a flock of turkeys trying to bleat like
sheep, amplify it a few times, and that is the sound of a colony of
Adélies. They are packed into nests of small pebbles stained pink with
guano, and one often smells their raucous colonies before hearing

Institute for Computational Earth System Science: Polar Meltdown

"On land, orange and gray-green lichens brightened the rocks, and the
snow was frequently stained pink from the guano of krill-eating

Birdwatchers' Digest: Many Are Cold Few Are Frozen

"Once arriving at their destination, the biggest surprise about the
scenery was the bright pink droppings (guano) from the penguins. It
blanketed the land, stained the white bellies of the penguins, and
permeated the air with a foul odor."

Pleasanton Weekly: Antarctic Adventure

As I was seeking this info, I came across a few items that I thought
might make interesting reading for those who like to learn new stuff,
even if it involves birdie doodoo. Here are some tidbits of dung data
from my investigations:

A terrific article about penguin poop (warning: there's some earthy

Unreality: Penguins

Some interesting guano lore:

"Penguin populations are on the decline due to a number of factors.
These include oil spills, overfishing (competition with fishermen for
their food), illegal hunting and habitat degradation. Local peoples
often collect penguin guano to sell for fertilizer. Since penguins use
their guano for nests, this makes for a poor breeding area and
breeding birds and chicks are disturbed. Therefore, less penguins are
breeding and less chicks are surviving to adulthood."

Roger Williams Park Zoo: Humboldt Penguin

Search terms used:

"penguin feces"
"feces of penguins"
"penguin excrement"
"excrement of penguins"
"penguin guano"
"guano of penguins"

I hope you and your friend will be tickled "pink" by this information.
It is my suggestion that each of you should treat the other to a cold,
frosty one. Meaning a beer, of course, not a penguin patty. ;-)

Best wishes,

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 07 Oct 2006 10:31 PDT
For those who seek further info on the subject of penguin defecation,
these links may be of interest:

And that's the inside poop. ;-)

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 07 Oct 2006 10:40 PDT
I'd like to thank my esteemed colleague answerfinder-ga for passing
along the Meyer-Rochow links that I posted above. It is heartening to
know that the investigation of Antarctic avian defecation proceeds

dbishop-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Well presented and very funny too. Scatological analysis has never been so much fun!

Subject: Re: What Color is Penguin Poop?
From: hockeyken10-ga on 13 Aug 2003 13:32 PDT
$2 question, what color is penguin poo! haha!  I love it!  The
question I mean, not the poo.
Subject: Re: What Color is Penguin Poop?
From: kewlnall-ga on 14 Aug 2003 11:43 PDT
Simple, it's yellow.

Buy each other a shot and celebrate the poo!

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