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Two African penguin chicks hatch at Mystic Aquarium

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: theday.com

Published February 20. 2013 7:00PM   Updated February 21. 2013 2:45PM

Mystic — Mystic Aquarium announced Wednesday that two African penguin chicks have hatched, bringing the aquarium's collection of the endangered birds to 28.

The chicks hatched Feb. 1 and 10 and currently weigh 696 grams and 281 grams, respectively.

Aquarium spokeswoman Erin Merz said that the chicks will be named when they are fully fledged. The aquarium names its penguins after the color of the identifying beads they wear. One of the chick's mother, for instance, is called "Red-Blue."

The birds' genders will be determined by a DNA test when they are about six months old.

Merz said that during the first 40 days of their lives, the chicks stay warm under their parents because they cannot maintain their body heat.

While the chicks will not be on public display for a few months, they can be seen on a webcam, at www.mysticaquarium.org/videos/live-cameras/528-penguin-webcam. Merz said viewers can see the chicks' heads and beaks emerge when they are hungry and when their parents feed them.

Once the chicks are weaned when they are about 50 days old, people can observe the aquarium's trainers teaching the chicks to eat from them.

At 75 to 100 days of age, the chicks will be fully fledged and then will join the other 26 adult penguins in the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Pavilion.

Those interested in the penguins can also view weekly video updates and submit questions to penguin trainers on the aquarium's Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/mysticaquarium.

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