Meet Ralph the bald penguin who lives in a wetsuit


Meet Ralph the bald penguin who lives in a wetsuitMarwell Zoo/Rex Features

Ralph the bald penguin is in desperate need of a new wetsuit, according to the UK's Marwell Zoo.

For the past couple of years, Ralph has had to wear a customised wetsuit to protect him from the sun and keep him warm on colder evenings.

Unlike the rest of the colony at Marwell Zoo, the 13-year-old Humboldt penguin will lose all his feathers in one day during his annual moult; whereas the other penguins will gradually lose their feathers to make way for a fresh set.

However, with all Ralph's swimming and grooming, the wetsuit has now seen better days.

Meet Ralph the bald penguin who lives in a wetsuitMarwell Zoo/Rex Features

Team Leader for the penguins, Anna Ing told Rex Features: "Unfortunately Ralph's wetsuit is fraying around the edges and coming apart at the seams.

"The wetsuit gets good use, Ralph is a bouncy character who is always out on the rocks exploring. He regularly grooms the wetsuit, just as he would with his feathers, and his partner, Coral the penguin, is often seen grooming it too!

"We now need another wetsuit for him to make sure he doesn't get sunburnt and to keep him warm."

Aside from wearing a wetsuit, Ralph swims, eats and plays just like his friends. The rubber in the wetsuit, which is the same as a human's wetsuit, is extremely flexible and doesn't restrict his movement.

Collection Manager at Marwell Wildlife, David White said: "Ralph is a very healthy bird, but for some reason his feathers drop out very quickly, before the new feathers grow back in time.

"The last wetsuit was made to fit Ralph and had Velcro to make it easy to adjust when his feathers begin to come through and we are hoping for the same again. Although the wetsuit is the same material as a humans it will need extra features to make it ideal for Ralph.

"I think the other penguins were a little surprised when he first wore it but they soon got used to it and Ralph is perfectly happy to wear it."

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