New Wetsuit For Ralph The Penguin

Ralph the penguin, has been given a trendy new wetsuit.

The 14-year-old Humboldt penguin who lives at Marwell Wildlife is now wearing a brand new custom made wetsuit after his previous suit had seen better days.

During his annual moult, Ralph loses his feathers quicker than other penguins, leaving him exposed to the elements. For the past five years, Ralph has had a wetsuit to protect him from the sun and keep him warm on colder evenings.

However, with all Ralph's swimming and grooming, his last wetsuit had become tatty.

The team at outdoor brand O'Neill heard about Ralph's plight and offered to make him a special custom made wetsuit that was perfect for the little penguin.

Anna Ing, Team Leader of birds at Marwell said:

"Ralph was in desperate need of a new wetsuit as his old one was starting to fall apart- his wetsuits see a lot of activity with him constantly on the go, swimming, climbing rocks and preening!

"He certainly looks the part with his custom made O'Neill wetsuit!

"He has been preening his wetsuit just as he would if he had feathers and his partner Coral has joined in too!"

Aside from wearing a wetsuit, Ralph swims, eats and plays just like the other penguins. The rubber in the wetsuit, which is the same as a human's wetsuit, is extremely flexible and doesn't restrict his movement.

Anna added:

"Ralph is a very healthy bird, but for some reason his feathers drop out very quickly, before the new feathers grow back in time.

"Every year is different for Ralph and we can never be sure when he will lose his feathers but as soon as he starts looking bald we put the wetsuit on him.

"This will be the fifth year Ralph has had a wetsuit now so he is used to wearing them and acts just like any other penguin in the colony."