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The terrified penguin who refuses to take to the water

Posted on 7:04 AM by Sameer Shah

As his feathered friends bathe happily in the pool and dive to its icy depths, Kentucky the penguin sticks to his perch and looks on - because he's afraid of water.

The pitiful bird, described as a 'runt' by his keepers, is terrified by the cold water and refuses to take the plunge with his 23 penguin pals at Blackbrook Zoological Park, Leek, Staffordshire.

But staff at the zoo have seen 11-year-old Kentucky become a surprise hit with visitors due to his unusual phobia.



The hapless Humbolt penguin was born smaller than his arctic brothers and sisters and has had malting problems since birth which make the water 'a bit too cold for him,' staff say.

Adam Stevenson, assistant bird keeper at the park, said: 'He came from Chester Zoo in the Spring time and there's 24 of them there all together.

'When he was born he was a bit of a runt, so he's had malting problems most of his life.

'He's malted quite badly and lost a lot more feathers than some of his friends.

'It's a bit too cold for him in the water, so he spends all his time on the rocks just walking around.



'It's a bit of a pain having to go over especially to him to feed him because he won't go in the water, but he's a real character and everyone at the zoo loves him.

'We've got one of the biggest collections of birds in Europe here but Kentucky is a bit of a crowd pleaser.

'He has become quite famous because it's quite unusual for penguins not to like the water. Most of his other mates are quite at home there and all the visitors find it quite funny when he's the only one sat there.'

Keepers at the Staffordshire park have to force Kentucky to dip into the water a couple of times a day to keep his feathers clean - and have even been reduced to pouring water on the pool-shy penguin.

Park trustee, Tina Mycock, said: 'People have come to the park to see him and have been saying they think he's allergic to water, which he isn't - he just prefers to sit on his rock whereas the others will just jump in.

'He has become very very popular and has caused quite a stir with the visitors.'

Park visitor Stacey Commons said: 'I expected to see all the penguins flapping about in the water but there was one who just wasn't having any of it.

'He just sat there looking a bit lonely on his rock while all his mates were having a great time in the pool.

'He's a really cute little guy but I felt quite sorry for him - it's like watching a monkey who's scared of climbing up trees.'

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