Image Credit: Screenshot SeaLife Sydney YouTube
Male gentoo penguins Sphen and Magic have fallen in love at SeaLife Aquarium in Sydney and now they’re having a baby.
According to the aquarium, the couple became inseparable before breeding season, waddling around and going for swims together. Sphen even gave Magic a special stone, which is “the equivalent of proposing in the love language of penguins.”
The couple were keen to start a family and as breeding season approached they began collecting pebbles to create a nest. Determined to create the best possible nest for their egg, they collected more pebbles than any other couple.
Being an inclusive penguin enclosure, keepers gave the couple a dummy egg to practise with and Sphen and Magic diligently worked as a team to keep the egg incubated and the nest safe.
The SeaLife team were so happy with the couple’s parenting skills that they gave them a real egg to foster, which was taken from a couple who found two eggs too much to handle.
Keepers say the older and more mature Sphen is a natural incubator, while Magic is working very hard to develop his skills.
It takes Gentoo penguins about 34 days to incubate an egg and couple’s share incubating duties, swapping roles every 1 – 3 days. They also equally share parenting duties after the chick hatches and allowing same-sex parents to hatch eggs is a practice that has been adopted by zoos around the world.
SeaLife Sydney is offering you the opportunity to get up close and behind the scenes with the penguins at Sydney Aquarium. You can learn more and book your penguin passport here.