Monday, November 19, 2007 6:50 PM
That pet penguin
Recently someone asked me about a penguin they'd heard had been adopted by a Japanese family and which was famous for toddling off to the local fish shop with a rucksack to pick up the family's daily supply of fish (and no doubt a little extra for him or herself). I recalled having read about this same penguin, but if my brain archives were pulling up the right data, it must have been at least a decade ago. Being a bit of a penguin fan myself though, I took the opportunity to have a rummage through the internet and thanks to the wonders of YouTube here he is:
Apparently he's a King Penguin and was rescued from a fishing boat's nets. Lives in his own refrigerated little room. The clip doesn't mention it, but I recall reading that penguins are quite difficult to care for if they're out of the cold too long and tend to suffer from bacterial (and / or fungal) infections.
Japan being Japan, that's not the only penguin being held in captivity. This 2004 article talks about a café in Yokohama which features a penguin as an attraction, while on this penguin Q&A page the author talks of having seen a penguin on sale in a petshop for arount 800,000 yen (about €5,000 at current exchange rates).