Featured Image Credit: Two Oceans Aquarium
We are wishing a very Happy Birthday to Miss Harold Custard, the second northern Rockhopper penguin to ever successfully hatch in South Africa and who celebrated her birthday this past weekend! Miss Harold Custard hatched on September 23, 2016, weighing in at just 60g. Now, she’s not so little anymore!
Northern rockhopper penguins can be found mostly on Tristan de Cunha and Gough Islands, more than 2500km from South Africa. Despite being the smallest of the crested penguins, it is not uncommon for young rockhoppers to wash up on the South African coast after surviving this long and scary journey.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is actually home to seven of these rescued northern rockhoppers, unable to be returned to the wild after being exposed to potential pathogens from South African waters. For Roxy and Grommet, two of these rescued penguins, it was love at first waddle. They are definitely known to have the Aquarium’s cutest romance story. On 14 August 2016 Roxy laid her first egg of the breeding season – which would soon hatch into Miss Harold Custard.
But how does such a cute little penguin get such a sophisticated and strange little name?
As little chicks, Rockhopper penguins have yellow beaks that eventually change to orange as they get older. The yellow beak seemed like such a rarity compared to the black beaks of the African penguins, so they nicknamed her “Custard”.
When little fluffball Custard got bigger, she developed quickly and even had a “B.A. Baracus hairstyle,” according to the aquarium. The staff at Two Oceans Aquarium even thought she was male at one point due to her behavioral quirks, so she was officially named “Harold Custard.”
Sex identification is actually extremely tricky with young penguins; since both males and females physically look the exact same. When a DNA test was done, the results revealed that Harold Custard was in fact female. That’s when they added a “Miss” to her name calling her “Miss Harold Custard”.
Learn more about Miss Harold Custard from our source!