Summer sun but Scarborough penguins enjoy the snow

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ON what was one of the hottest days of the summer so far – the penguins at the Sea Life Centre really chilled out.

As temperatures hit 72F, it was cold enough for snow at the attraction in North Bay.

George the penguin is puzzled as he embarks on his first ever snow patrol, as the Scarborough Sea Life Centre ships in 10 tons of real snow from Sno!zone ski slope at Castleford. Picture by Andrew Higgins  113101e 01/08/11

George the penguin is puzzled as he embarks on his first ever snow patrol, as the Scarborough Sea Life Centre ships in 10 tons of real snow from Sno!zone ski slope at Castleford. Picture by Andrew Higgins 113101e 01/08/11

The white stuff came courtesy of Castleford-based SNO!zone. Its staff helped deliver five tons of snow to the penguin pen yesterday.

“There was a break-in at their enclosure earlier this year, so this is a treat for them,” said the centre’s marketing co-ordinator Sam I’Anson.

The Humboldts originate from Peru and Chile in South America and snow is not their natural habitat. They are named, though, after the cold water current they swim in.

So, the Sea Life Centre inhabitants are used to the chillier temperatures.

“It is also their moulting season and it can be too hot here for them then,” said senior aquarist Todd German, “so this helps them cool down.”

It was -5C after the snow fall, which was the idea of the indoor ski-slope company.

“The snow will last all day and will help the penguins cool off,” said Emma Darvill from SNO!zone.

“We’ve delivered snow for people so they can enjoy a white Christmas and have auctioned it off for charity – but we have never made it snow for penguins before now,” she said.

It is the real thing as the chemicals in synthetic snow can be harmful to the penguins.

George, with a little help from Todd, was the first on the ice as Pinky, Kev, Mutley, Mavis, Krusty, Gozo, Clumsey, Piglet and Nestor looked on.

While people on nearby North Bay beach applied sun-tan lotion, these brr-irds brr-aved cooler conditions.