Human millennials aren’t the only ones mooching off their parents after becoming grown-ass adults. Penguins mooch too.
While they can’t come home on weekends to do laundry and raid the kitchen, some penguins mooch off mom and dad.
A new study describes fledgling Galapagos penguins begging adults for food and receiving upchucked chow.
Fledglings are essentially adults without the matching markings.
Much like twenty-something humans without adulthood’s wrinkles and paunch!
Fledglings have left home, or “fledged the nest.”
Mooching penguins will wait by the beach for a returning adult, turn up their beaks, and shriek for food.
In some cases, the adult regurgitates food, such as fish, into the waiting mouth.
This charming technique, by the way, only works on fledglings’ parents.
The Galapagos penguins who didn’t recognize the emerging adults’ cries just pushed them away.
Dee Boersma has some theories about why these penguins are particularly generous with their mooching offspring.
While this “large son” penguin behavior might be very relatable, it’s probably down to climate change.
The Galapagos Islands sit on a chain of volcanoes near the equator, where conditions involve freezing ocean currents and blistering heat.
Penguins may have evolved to take advantage of this variation in food supply.
Apparently, this kind of relationship is pretty normal but not every Galapagos penguin parents do it.
There are also penguin parents that don’t recognize their kids, so, no free food!
Sources: Inverse, National Geographic