Chapter four - The strange animals

by ZSL on

Chapter four - The strange animals

Spot the penguin

‘Hey! Hey look over there! There’s something caught in a net!’

Spot awakes to the sound of strange animals. They call to each other, using funny noises he can’t understand. 


Slowly he opens his eyes. He’s dazed and confused.

Something’s tugging at the invisible material he’s trapped in. For a minute he thinks it’s a seal, it’s shiny black skin and flippers suspending it in the water. 

He starts to thrash and honk. 

‘Woah it’s okay little penguin! We’re going to get you out of here!’ 

It’s not a seal, it has a funny, fleshy face with fur growing on top of it. Something sharp glints in its hands, cutting through the material dug deep into his flippers and spotty chest. 

Squirming and honking, he’s passed up onto a floating platform - into the hands of another of the animals.

Spot panics and cries and wriggles in their hands as together they get him free. He can move his flippers again! All the better for getting away from these new scary creatures!

But they hold on tight to him.

‘You’re a long way from the beach little penguin - let’s get you home.’

Tucked under one of their arms, Spot has no choice but to watch as the strange moving platform starts to move across the ocean. In the distance a tiny slither of land starts to get bigger and bigger.

As the platform gets closer to land, jagged rocks emerge from its coast. In the foam of the waves, little black dots jump in and out of the sea. Penguins! 

Spot starts to honk loudly and wriggle in the animal’s arms. Until… suddenly, he’s free! Hopping and jumping over the platform, onto its edge, until…


He dives into the sea. Zooming underwater, closer and closer to the beach. He shoots out of the water and hops across the rocks. 

All around him are penguins, hopping and waddling around. Honking to each other - chicks de-manding to be fed. The whole beach smells like lovely, cosy, penguin poo - the whole beach smells like home.

He waddles up the shore and there it is. His burrow. Looking a little bit worse for wear. It’s been completely washed out by the storm, the entrance hole partly collapsed. 

He pokes his head in to the empty nest, recognising its smell. The eggs are gone. 


He knows that sound! He turns to see Mum. He squarks as they greet and she preens him, his ba-by fluff almost completely gone.

They get to work digging out the burrow with their beaks before nestling in and waiting for Dad to return - with a bill full of glorious stinky fish. 

Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

Nature at the heart of global decision making

At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions. 

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!


We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.


From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.


A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.