Here in the Cape, we’re lucky enough to have a couple of local colonies of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) which one can pop along and visit, should one feel the need. Summer days are obviously nicest to spend in the sun, by the sea, getting up close and personal with these curious birds; with just one rather large drawback – the smell.
Penguins eat fish (which smells) and then they defaecate (which smells). It’s like smell². In short: penguins stink.
The penguins at Boulders Beach (so called because of the huge boulders there) and at Stony Point (so called because it’s all stony)* are a huge draw for the tourists, most of whom go home with a head full of wonderful memories, a camera full of wonderful photographs and a nose full of wonderfully fishy poo. Each time I go and visit Boulders, I am reminded of the need to do something about the dreadful whiff that greets me as I open the car door. And again when I arrive there.
But now I can, thanks to an offer from The Guardian in the UK. The UK isn’t known for its penguins, but there are, of course, several zoos and wildlife parks which have penguins in them. And I’m guessing that’s the market that The Guardian is trying to corner here, with the Penguin Steam Cleaner:
They’ve even made it look a little bit penguinesque, so as not to frighten the birds on approach.
The Penguin Steam Cleaner features:
Continuous 1600 watt high-pressure (good for repeated penguin cleaning)
Steam exits at 105°C (bit warm, but penguins are well insulated)
Powerful jet nozzle, ideal for awkward spaces (beak, webbed feet, wingpits etc)
And it removes creased feathers. What more could you ask for?
It’s expensive, but I reckon that the SanParks, who run Boulders, could get a better deal if they bought a job lot. After all – they have a whole load of penguins to clean.
I will be pitching my idea to them later this week by getting one of these wonderful devices, “borrowing” a penguin and demonstrating the myriad of benefits a steam-cleaned penguin colony would bring to both their visitor numbers and their beleaguered olfactory systems.
* I don’t make the rules.