Penguins can shoot poo out of their rectums, a new study has found.
And shoot it out with such ferocity that the little guys can send their feaces more than four feet away which, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’d all love to be able to do.
Researchers in Japan found that the rectal pressure stored up in the flightless birds reaches 28 kilopascals and can send their droppings around 1.2 metres away, with the stinky business travelling at around 4.5 mph.
The study was led by Hiroyuki Tajima of Kochi University and Fumiya Fujisawa of Katsurahama Aquarium, and set out to find how far Humboldt penguins could fire their poo.
The paper says: “The flying distance of penguin’s feaces reaches about 0.4 metres [1.3 feet] even on the ground.”
However, with these penguins typically nesting on rocks more than six-foot high, it means their droppings could pose a threat to zookeepers below.
And the paper warned staff to be extra cautious when approaching these animals, for fear that they could be struck.
The study adds: “We found that penguin keepers should keep a distance of longer than 1.34 metres [4.4 feet] from penguins trying to eject faeces in the Katsurahama aquarium.”
Speaking to The Times about the piece of research, natural materials expert Chris Holland from the University of Sheffield, said it was vital in helping ‘move the science forward’.
However, he also warned that there is still work to be done.
He said: “There is surprisingly little known about the flow properties of animal faeces. As a result in this paper they have had to treat it as a Newtonian fluid, which means their best projections may be an overestimate.
“In reality faeces is more likely to be Non-Newtonian – a ‘funny fluid’ – and far more complex.
“In the future it would be useful to understand the surface tension of the faeces so that one could predict if it is likely to jet or mist upon release, and how it would splash, so that the workers could take measures [to avoid it] accordingly.”
But this isn’t the only piece of important poo related penguin news we have had of late.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that the penguins’ guano (droppings) contains enormous amounts of nitrous oxide, which is more commonly known as laughing gas.