New residents don't mind a pilchard or four

THE latest attractions at a wildlife park eat their body weight in fish each day.

Four little penguins have delighted visitors since the exhibit opened on Monday at Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park.

The little penguins - Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico - take their names from the animated movie Madagascar.

A penguin exhibit is a new experience for park owner Mark Stone.

“In 35 years [in the industry], I’ve never had penguins,” he said.

“They are just an amazing animal to people because they are so active.

“They are always busy and they have lots to do.”

Little penguins, formerly known as fairy penguins, are the smallest of the 17 penguin species.

The elevated enclosure, with underwater viewing area, gives visitors a close look at the penguins as they swim and move around their new home.

The penguins’ diet is predominantly fish.

Pilchards make up the bulk of their food.

Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico each chomps through four pilchards a day.

Taking care of the penguins involves plenty of cleaning.

And while the penguins are always hungry, they are on a strict diet to ensure they don’t over eat.

The four penguins come from Featherdale Wildlife Park.

Mr Stone plans to initiate a penguin breeding program down the track.

The penguin exhibit follows the introduction of a 4.6m-long saltwater crocodile at the park.

Shrek weighs 400kg and is also named from a movie.

Mr Stone said people’s response to Shrek had been overwhelming.

“We knew it was going to be big but it has been huge, just like him, massive,” he said.

The saltwater crocodile exhibit opened to the public on December 20.

There are more animals on the way too.

Mr Stone hopes to have red pandas at the park by Easter followed by meerkats.

Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park has recorded strong visitor numbers over the holiday season.

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