Why is a penguin at the St. Louis Zoo wearing shoes?
Joshua Ketelsen asked the same question when he was there and here's the answer he got:
He’s an extremely old penguin. Far older than would naturally survive in the wild. As a result, he has developed the penguin equivalent of arthritis in his feet. The zoo has a very effective pain relieving cream they can put on, but it washes off when he goes into the water. So they sewed him tiny shoes made of wetsuit fabric to keep the cream on. No more pain and he can even swim with them on.
As anyone getting up in years might sympathize, Enrique started having issues with arthritis in his feet. He had always gotten around well but started slowing down this past year.
Veterinarians took a look and saw Enrique had developed larger, thicker calluses at the bottom of his feet, which can happen with arthritis. They treated Enrique with a variety of medicines and topical sprays and creams to see what would help. But the topical stuff would wash off every time he hopped in the water for a swim, and reapplying it took the keepers’ time away from other penguins.
“We started thinking outside the box,” said Johnson, “and that’s where the boots come in.”
And now you know why the St Louis Zoo has a penguin wearing shoes.
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