CHICAGO – They grow up so fast, don’t they?
Shedd Aquarium’s newest rockhopper penguin took its first swim and has officially joined the full penguin colony.
The chick, hatched in June, tested the waters in smaller habitats behind the scenes before taking the plunge, the aquarium said Thursday.
The next important milestone will be determining the sex of the chick, the aquarium said, then it can finally get a name.
When it hatched, the chick weighed almost 2 pounds and now weighs a little more than 4 pounds, according to the aquarium, and is between 1 and 1.5 feet tall. It’s very close in appearance to an adult rockhopper, but still doesn’t sport the species’ distinctive yellow eyebrow feathers.
When it was born June 15 to parents Edward and Annie, the chick was the aquarium’s first baby rockhopper penguin in eight years.
Edward and Annie are aquarium stars in their own right. The penguins are featured in the aquarium’s field trip videos, which show the couple roaming through various exhibits. They are also subjects of their own children’s book.
The aquarium has two species of penguins on exhibit, rockhoppers and Magellanic penguins. Both species have experienced successful breeding at the aquarium in the past, but this year the Shedd is placing emphasis on rockhoppers because they are underrepresented, the aquarium said.
Guests can check in on the chick’s progress at Shedd’s Polar Play Zone.