Meet The King Penguin Who Found An Unexpected Home In A Hot And Humid Japanese Town

From grocery deliveries to medicines and furniture to food, most buyers worldwide continue to skip local supermarkets and shop on either e-commerce websites or delivery apps. According to Statista, more than 263 million U.S. consumers pick online shopping over offline stores. Hassle-free direct home delivery, extensive range, lower prices, and 24/7 availability are the primary driving forces behind the trend. Statista further reports that global retail sales on digital platforms can reach about $7.4 trillion by 2025.

While most humans avoid visiting the neighborhood shops, a king penguin, with his tiny customized backpack on, once walked daily to the market to fetch himself fresh fish (via Bored Panda). Of course, king penguins in their natural habitat get plenty of fish in the sea. So, what made 10-year-old Lala hit the road to "buy" himself food? In fact, how did a king penguin lose his way and end up living in a hot and humid nation several thousand miles away from his frigid abode in Antarctica?

The miracle penguin

Lala came into prominence after a 1996 Real TV documentary filmed him walking adorably in the streets of Shibushi, Japan, carrying a backpack (above, via YouTube). Per Bored Panda, the badly injured penguin was found trapped in a fisherman's fishing net way back in 1986. Since his beak and wings were greatly damaged, the fisherman did not release the penguin back into the shark-infested ocean waters. Instead, he handed over the little Lala to his friend Yukio Nishimoto.

When Lala fully recovered a few months later, it was time to bid farewell. However, when Yukio tried to release the penguin into safe waters, the bird refused and returned to the abode where he felt the safest — Yukio's house (via My Modern Met). According to Newsner, the Nishimoto family treated the aquatic bird as its own, kept him in a personalized air-conditioned room, and took him to shop often. Since he loved traveling, Yukio trained him to walk a few steps to the nearest fish shop and get his diet in his backpack on his own.

Yukio's neighbors took Lala under their wings and poured water on his head to cool him off whenever he was out strolling. "Sardines and mackerel are his favorite. He loves to eat them. He is adorable!" said an unnamed shopkeeper, who lovingly put a fresh fish in his beak and another in his backpack (via YouTube). Lala formed a unique bond with his human family and captivated the town for over a decade until he died of old age.

Penguins are not easy keepers

Exotic animals such as lions are occasionally held as pets (via LifeHacker). But it is rare to find pet penguins. Penguins are carnivores, and about 80% of their diet consists of fish. According to Pet Keen, they usually move in groups of 20. Caring for 20 pet penguins is an demanding task, as a single penguin can gulp down about 500 pounds of fish each year.

Penguins' feathers regulate their body temperatures, allowing the tuxedoed birds to survive in temperatures that range from 90°F to -60°F (via Smithsonian). In addition, penguins excrete a lot. According to News18, king penguins specifically poop in huge quantities. What's worse? Their poop is a potent source of nitrous oxide and contributes to global warming.

In addition to the physical logistics involved, owning a penguin today in the United States — legally, anyway — is nearly impossible. There are certainly plenty of other adorable pet options out there.