Happy Birthday, Missy!
The 36-year-old penguin, who shares the same birthday as Charlize Theron, is most likely the world’s oldest penguin. The seabird who lives at England’s Birdland, a bird zoo located about 80 miles west of London, would be 108 years old in human years, the Daily Mail reports.
Missy the king penguin may have to fight for the title. According to Birdland, a Danish zoo believes their 34-year-old Gentoo penguin is the world’s oldest in captivity. But Birdland holds that Missy is older.
“Although we cannot categorically age Missy we do know she was an adult when she came to Birdland and king penguins take five years to become fully mature,” Birdland Manager, Simon Blackwell, said in a statement. “Therefore she must be, at the very least, 36 years old and she could actually be significantly older.”
Missy is the matriarch of England’s only king penguin colony. She arrived at the zoo in 1982 and has since lost sight in one eye, and has remained the devoted partner of male penguin, Seth, for the past 18 years.
“You really wouldn't know Missy's old age to look at her, she acts like all of the other penguins here. The fact that she can only see out of one eye doesn't appear to have slowed her down at all,” Blackwell said, adding that Missy uses her wing to guide her around the zoo’s enclosure.
In fact, Seth has made his way to the big screen -- starring as the evil penguin in the 1992 film Batman Returns with Danny DeVito.
King penguins, the second-largest penguins in the world, weighing up to 40 pounds. Native to sub-Antarctic waters, they are considered “extraordinary parents” that travel up to 250 miles to search for food while their chick and spouse.
According to the Guinness World Records the oldest penguin ever in captivity was a 29-year-old rockhopper penguin that lived in a Norway zoo from 1974 to October 2003, ITV reports.
Missy may be next in line for the world title. “We believe she is the oldest penguin in the world and we are planning to look into applying with the Guiness World Records,” Blackwell said.