Britain's oldest penguin gets a birthday treat

37-year-old penguin celebrates at Living Coasts zoo in Torquay

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Britain's oldest penguin gets a birthday treat


Britain's oldest penguin is celebrating her 37th birthday today at Living Coasts, a seaside zoo in Torquay, Devon.

Pat, the African penguin, who is still a star attraction at the zoo, was treated to two birthday cakes full of sprats.

She was hatched at nearby Paignton Zoo in 1978 and is thought to be the second-oldest penguin in Europe. Words: PA

Pat lives on her own private beach with toy boy partner Eddie, who hatched at the zoo in 2001.

African penguins enjoy an average life expectancy of around 20 years in the wild.

The great-grandmother is celebrating her birthday today with banners, a flower-shaped sprat cake and a blue gelatin cake filled with sprats.

Chris Dunn, penguin keeper at Living Coasts, said: "Pat has a very distinctive stance with her flippers sticking out. She can be seen by her burrow or down at the public feeds.

"Eddie likes to preen her and show her lots of affection.

"She is a very sweet penguin, quite happy to approach keepers for fish, and once she has decided she has had enough will head back to her burrow holding a sprat in her beak.

"At the moment she is freshly moulted. She is a very healthy and happy-looking bird, hopefully she has many more years to come."

Pat, also known as number 1389, moved from Paignton Zoo to Living Coasts when the centre opened in 2003.

She now lives with Eddie in Burrow 19, where the couple have their own private beach and all the fish they can eat.

The zoo has the largest colony of African penguins in the UK.

Phil Knowling, spokesman at Living Coasts, added: "It shows that the English Riviera is great for us more mature types."

Pat has had nine chicks in her time and has three great-grand penguins at Living Coasts.

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