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Last Updated: Friday August 14 2009 06:23 GMT

In pics: Bald penguin gets own wetsuit

Ralph in his wetsuit

You wouldn't expect a penguin to need a wetsuit, but nine-year-old Ralph is bald and needs this specially designed costume to protect him from sunburn.

Ralph having a swim in his wetsuit

Penguins don't usually lose their old feathers until new ones have grown underneath, but Ralph lost all of his feathers in just one day, leaving his skin exposed to the elements.

Ralph in his wetsuit

Now his keepers at Marwell Wildlife zoo in Hampshire have created a special wetsuit for Humboldt penguin Ralph to protect his delicate skin.

Ralph in his wetsuit with other penguins

Head keeper David Schofield said: "At first the other penguins were curious but it wasn't long before they recognised and accepted Ralph again."

Ralph diving into the water in his wetsuit

His keepers reckon Ralph doesn't mind the wetsuit and is still able to swim around quite happily. Looks as if his diving skills haven't been effected either.

Ralph having a swim in his wetsuit

Keeper David Schofield said: "It [the wetsuit] was quite easy to fit and we were able to customise it by creating the extra openings for his flippers once he was in it."