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With one video alone garnering over 20 million views, YouTube sensation Wrinkle the Duck may just be the most watched waterfowl of all time. And there’s good reason for it.

The only survivor from a clutch of six Pekin eggs, Wrinkle was destined for greatness. Hatched during the pandemic to circus jugglers Justin Wood and Joyce Kung, Wrinkle was meant to be in the couple’s variety show. But it turns out, Wrinkle had her own passions to pursue – namely, running.

Wrinkle with owner Justin Woods, who writes, “Lesson Learned: To love a duck is to love yourself.”

 

Just a week after she hatched, Wrinkle was running in a TikTok video. It wasn’t long before Justin and Joyce realized their duck was a star in her own right.

Since she started to perform at just three months, Wrinkle has traveled the country, from California to New York and, say Joyce and Justin, “everywhere in between,” seeing the world through her preferred mode of transportation, her own webbed feet. Wrinkle has “competed” in the New York City Marathon at least twice, logging more than 50 feet, with only a few stops for water.

To train, Wrinkle regularly walks 15 to 20 blocks, but seems to prefer lower profile events, such as the 1.4-mile Bronx Halloween Parade. According to Wikipedia, Wrinkle also set a duck world record time for a 1-kilometer run at 18:08 on the kids’ course of the 2022 Long Island Marathon.

It’s a lot of friction for feet meant to waddle through grass and paddle in a pond. Justin and Joyce created custom red “shoes” for her out of a soft material that covers the webbed soles with small openings for her nails.

“Wrinkle waddles a lot,” say Joyce and Justin, “so she needs shoes to protect her delicate little cheese feet.”

A Star is Hatched

Wrinkle’s internet debut came before she was even out of her egg, and she has since starred in nearly 600 YouTube videos and countless social media posts.

Her popularity has even surpassed fellow celebri-duck Ben Afquack, with Wrinkle now holding the record for most Instagram followers for a duck. Like Afquack, though, Wrinkle uses pronouns different from her birth sex.

Wrinkle has “strong female energy,” say Justin and Joyce.

According to Justin and Joyce via Wrinkle’s website, “It’s hard to tell a duck’s gender when they’re under 3 months old, so we registered her as a girl” on the Emotional Support Animal paperwork. They note that Wrinkle has “strong female energy,” and that her drake feather – the curled tail on male ducks – has “always been ambiguous.”

Something Wrinkle’s not ambiguous about, however, is her dislike of hugs, kisses, and “aggressive water,” preferring instead ribbons, tissue paper, and, apparently, human toes. (If you’re headed out to meet Wrinkle, maybe wear sneakers.) Wrinkle is also an accomplished painter, with a style that, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been compared to Jackson Pollack.

In her short life, Wrinkle’s already had a dizzying array of adventures, running around fairs and festivals, casinos and parades. Videos show her riding the subway, sitting in Santa’s lap, taking trips to IKEA, McDonald’s and much more. As always, Wrinkle seems happy to be there – or at least, happy to waddle there.

Said Joyce at a recent PetSmart visit, “I’m glad there are so many people out there who love Wrinkle as much as I do. It really has been a trip.”

Photo by Meredith Zinner Photography.

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