Penguins delight residents at Oxfordshire care home with Christmas visit

The penguins waddled around the room and sat on many beaming residents’ laps.

Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle during a visit to care home residents at the OSJCT’s Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire (Des Dubber/OSJCT/PA)
Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle during a visit to care home residents at the OSJCT’s Spencer Court care home in Oxfordshire (Des Dubber/OSJCT/PA)

Two penguins have delighted residents at an Oxfordshire care home in a Christmas visit, waddling around the room as the beaming residents looked on.

The Humboldt penguins, 24-year-old Charlie and nine-year-old Pringle, visited Spencer Court from Heythrop Zoo in Oxfordshire on Friday.

Penguins Charlie and Pringe at Spencer Court care home (Des Dubber/Orders of Saint John Care Trust/PA)

“These penguins are not only comfortable and familiar with travelling, but we believe they show positive behaviour signs when interacting with different people… they are used to and therefore not stressed by the presence of human beings,” said a spokesperson for Heythrop Zoo.

“It is the belief of Heythrop Zoo that by bringing unusual and undomesticated species to the attention of the general public – particularly when accompanied by educational talks – they raise community awareness that indirectly aids conservation.”

One of the penguins perched on a resident’s lap (Des Dubber/Orders of Saint John Care Trust/PA)

Residents were pictured enjoying the unusual company, with the penguins even seen perched on several laps.

Charlie and Pringle are no strangers to care homes, regularly visiting them all across England as a form of therapy for residents.

The care home said it wanted to make Christmas ‘extra special’ for its residents (Des Dubber/Orders of Saint John Care Trust/PA)

Dorte Chandler, manager at Spencer Court, said: “Residents and colleagues at the home have experienced very challenging times since Covid-19 emerged, so we wanted to make this Christmas extra special for everyone.

“What better way to do that than by welcoming these wonderful penguins right into our care home. They are amazing creatures, and we are all enjoying learning more about them together.”

Humboldt penguins are native to Peru and Chile and can reach speeds of up to 30mph (48kph) when swimming.

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