Adorably Fuzzy Baby Penguin Gets its Tummy Poked (Probably)

Who's all cuddly? Who's all cuddly? (Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo)

If the Woodland Park Zoo wanted Seattle to go, “Awwwww!” en masse, they probably succeeded when they sent out this picture of a penguin hatchling getting the Pillsbury Doughboy treatment [UPDATE: Whoops. Old picture. In this year’s shot, a hatchling gets the Tupperware treatment]. Despite fluffy appearances, plenty of behind-the-scenes drama is involved:

The first chick hatched on April 3 to 4-year-old mother Sardinia and 9-year-old father Groucho. During the hatching of the first egg, the pair’s second egg was rejected by the parents. Staff relocated it under a pair of foster parents where it proceeded to hatch a couple of days later.

Whew! The Zoo expects four more eggs (Four more eggs! Four more eggs!) to hatch soon, between April 16 and 26.

All the chicks will grow up out of the limelight–you won’t be able to see them until sometime later this summer at the zoo’s Humboldt Penguin exhibit. All the cooing and clucking is serious zoo business, though–Humboldts are an endangered species, as you’ll hear in the video below, and the zoo is involved in a species survival plan to help boost their cute widdle numbers.

This video shows penguin chicks kicking it in their private pool, just before the age they are transferred to the public exhibit: