It may be too cold for people to go swimming in Connecticut, but two African penguin chicks went for a dip at the Mystic Aquarium Thursday.
Two chicks named Purple Red and Purple Gray, who hatched in February, went for a dive at the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Pavilion.
Experts said the chicks recently became accustomed to the exhibit, as well as the aquarium's colony of 26 adult penguins.
"Well, new environment is a little bit scary, you know, the unknowns," said Sarah Dunn of Mystic Aquarium. "It takes a little encouragement to get them to go in that first time."
The chicks must hone their swimming skills, which include learning to dive and navigating with their wings and feet, before taking the plunge, experts said.
However, the chicks, whose gender has not been determined, are good at floating.
"I thought the penguins were going to be smaller," said Kathy Yusda of Middlefield. "They were very cute and apparently they don't like the water."
It did take a while for the little critters to settle in and go for a swim, but eventually they did take the plunge. They seemed to catch on to the swimming thing fairly quickly.
"They're normally very graceful animals in the water," Dunn said. "It takes them about 15 minutes to become graceful."
Purple Red and Purple Gray are the 50th and 51st members in the African penguin colony at the Mystic Aquarium.
The African penguin is an endangered species, experts said.
The event drew quite a crowd and everybody seemed to get a kick out of watching them. The aquarium breeds and raises the birds, which are endangered, and uses events such as this to teach the public a bit about them.
"I thought it was really interesting," said Vickie Jesse of Mystic. "I never seen a baby penguin take a dip before so it's fun."
Anyone interested can watch the penguins anytime of day through a live webcam by clicking the following link.
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