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The science behind Penguin Poop

Everything poops.

It’s the “where” and “how” of pooping that makes for a fascinating story.

Take penguins, for instance.

When a penguin is working on its nest and protecting the eggs, it does not want to leave the general area.

So the penguin will hop onto the edge of the nest, face outward, and…

Did you know that when a penguin poops, it can fire out with such pressure that a penguin can shoot it out anywhere from 12-15 inches all the way to a bit more than four feet?

That’s some distance.

Scientists have noted that there’s usually a circular spray around penguin nests, as penguins radiate their poop around the outside (all with the specific purpose of keeping the nest itself clean).

What it all comes down to is that in order to poop in this manner, a penguin needs to build up an extremely high amount of internal pressure.

Scientists have calculated the amount of pressure needed to expel at the level of a penguin’s velocity – and they’ve determined that a penguin’s internal pressure is about half the pressure of a standard car tire (about 600 grams per square centimeter, or 60 kilopascal).

For comparison, 13 kPA is the lung pressure used to blow a trumpet high note, and 70 kPA is the pressure used in a spray paint gun.

This high level of internal pressure may be what causes a penguin’s waddle. This is only a simple guess, but it makes sense if it’s taking everything a penguin’s got to keep it in or else they’ll explode.

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