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Penguin visits the Pratt; checking out books for chicks

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 18:32:45-04

BALTIMORE — The Central Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Public Library was patroned by a bird of a different feather Tuesday.

"Lilly," a black-footed penguin, stopped by to check out a few books for the new brood of chicks born at the Maryland Zoo during the most recent breeding season.

With the aid of animal caretaker Amy Eveleth, Lilly grabbed titles for Gatsby, Zorro, Coraline, and Knightly to share with fellow flock.

Each year, the zoo picks a theme to name that season's chicks. Following an online vote, a literary theme was chosen, with the new chicks being named after famous characters from popular and classic fiction.

The zoo has seen great success breeding these beloved birds. Through roughly 50 years, the zoo has bred more than 1,000 chicks. Currently about 90 penguins inhabit the Penguin Coast exhibit at the zoo's Druid Hill Park campus, where visitors can see the penguins from above and below as they waddle on land or gracefully swim in their enclosure.

The birds have thrived in Baltimore, a place with a climate that reminds them of their natural habitat in South Africa.

"They are very happy in Baltimore," Eveleth said. "The climate kind of mimics where they're from. Even when we have snow, these penguins go outside, because they're used to it."