You’ve probably heard that penguins get covered in muck from oil spills, which makes them chilly. Thus, we should all take a break from infinity scarves and snail jumpers to knit sweaters for penguins. Not true! Put down those knitting needles!
As we mentioned when this story went around in 2011, there really have been calls for penguin sweaters from wildlife conservation groups. But response tends to be disproportionate, and organizations are flooded with seabird apparel, a fraction of which -- if any -- gets used. Plus, penguin advocates dispute whether the knitwear is a good idea to begin with.
Being squeezed into a sweater can freak a penguin out -- and it’s really not necessary, thanks to heat lamps. The New Zealand Herald explains:
A keeper at Auckland Zoo said the idea of making the little birds wear the jerseys might cause them extra stress...
"Putting something like that on a penguin, it's probably only going to stress it out even more than they already are. These are wild penguins; they haven't had any interaction with humans. There's already enough stress on a bird without trying to put a sweater on it," [bird keeper Natalie Clark] said.