How long can you hold your breath for? 10 seconds? 30
Emperor penguins can hold their breath for an amazing 20
minutes! They dive under the ice in the cold oceans around
Antarctica when they hunt for food. It's like us going to the
supermarket and holding our breath whilst we do all the food
shopping. Could you do that?
Penguins can hold their breath
for 20 minutes
How do penguins do it?
How fast does your heart beat? You can count your heart beats by
taking your pulse - or ask your parents to do it. An adult's heart
rate is around 60-80 beats per minute. Your heart rate will be a
bit faster. When a penguin dives under the water its heart rate
slows to three beats per minute! That's very slow. This means blood
moves round the penguin's body slowly, so that the oxygen supply
lasts much longer.
When we breathe in, oxygen enters the lungs and then moves to
the blood. Haemoglobin, a molecule in the blood, is an oxygen
carrier. Penguins have loads more haemoglobin than humans, so they
can carry lots more oxygen.
Now you know - to hold your breath like a penguin you need a
slow heart rate and lots of haemoglobin!
What other animals need to hold their breath for a long