First with anteaters, then with penguins

I spare you the details of what these Pacific “bomb cyclone” weather events do to my body when it encounters the very low air pressure that accompanies them, but it’s extremely unpleasant and totally immobilizing (and this time, it included the inability to focus my eyes, so I couldn’t read anything for, like, four hours). That was yesterday; surviving this attack comes with slow recovery over some days. I had an “easy” entertaining posting in preparation, mostly replays from the past, so this is what I’m giving you now, just as proof that I’m not (quite) dead yet.

The occasion is yesterday’s (3/29) Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, set in a little spheniscid restaurant:

(#1) Wayno’s title: “Just Like Mom Used to Spew” (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Crude spew from Wayno, technical regurgitate in the cartoon text. Both references to penguins feeding their chicks. So: some comments on these practices. Then on to the restaurant — with all the accoutrements of a little neighborhood place — serving homey specialties, by penguins, for penguins.

Feeding penguin chicks. A little lexical background, from NOAD:

verb spew: [a] [with object] expel large quantities of (something) rapidly and forcibly: buses were spewing out black clouds of exhaust. … [c]  [no object] informal vomit [vomit ‘eject matter from the stomach through the mouth’].

Then, from the Penguins International site (“protecting penguins, protecting the planet”). “How Do Penguins Feed Their Chicks? by Sian Liversage:

(#2) A gentoo penguin feeding its chick in Antarctica (photo: Penguins International Photo Library)

It’s easy to say that you can learn a lot from watching a penguin colony, from their hunting behaviours to how they raise their chicks. Many of us have watched documentaries of penguins incubating and hatching their chicks, but one thing that has always baffled me and many others, is how do they store food to feed their chicks? It turns out, the answer isn’t as simple as you may think – there are multiple ways in which they care for their young

… Penguins first must hunt for their food: All penguins hunt in the same way; they either catch their prey in the water or they can scrape krill off the underside of the ice. They do not have teeth, but instead have a very sharp bill to do this. Their mouths and tongues are lined with spines that point back towards their throat, making it easy for them to swallow prey such as squid, shrimp and fish.

Swallowing their food to store it for later: If a penguin has chicks, it will catch and swallow its food, then “store” it for later to feed to its chicks. Of course, some will also be kept for themselves to enable the parent to continue to survive and hunt for prey. Chicks cannot digest food like their parents, therefore, the parents need to convert it into a form that the chicks can eat. There are a few ways of doing this; the first way is regurgitation; the second way is the equivalent to “refrigerating” the food; and finally, the third way is a secretion that is made from the digested food.

Regurgitation: This is when a penguin will catch its food and partially digest it, which will take a few hours. When the parent reaches its chick, and the food has been digested enough, it will cough the mixture back up and allowing the chick to eat it directly from the parent’s bill. This feeding method is often seen on documentaries

The specialty restaurant for creatures of a certain inclination. Here it’s penguins. Earlier on this blog, anteaters. From my 10/19/21 posting “Formicavore home cooking”, about this Bizarro cartoon:


Anteaters and food in Bizarro. Except for the ant thing, the characters in Bizarro‘s formicavore cartoons act like people; it’s the incorporation of their fixation on eating ants that makes the cartoons so funny. Previously on this blog:

— in my 5/29/18 posting “Chez Le Fourmilier”, about a restaurant catering to anteaters:

(#4) [caption:] A strenuous exercise in cartoon understanding: you need to be familiar with a certain kind of (seafood) restaurant, and to recognize both anteaters and a children’s educational toy known as an ant farm. And then to understand that the cartoon embodies a metaphorical translation from a seafood restaurant world to an anteater world.]

— in my 3/27/20 posting “Chez Le Fourmilier II”, in which “The chef of Chez Le Fourmilier brings an ant farm to the table for the delectation of an enthusiastic diner wearing an ant bib”:



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