Image of Baby Sphengic courtesy of Sea Life Aquarium Sydney
Congratulations to Sea Life Aquarium Sydney’s gay gentoo penguin couple Sphen and Magic, who are now the proud parents of a healthy baby chick.
Born on October 19 and weighing 91 grams, the chick is doing well and is the first sub-Antarctic penguin to be born in the Sea Life penguin colony. The chick’s gender will be confirmed in two months.
Sea Life says Sphen and Magic are “doing well and are so in love with their new bub.” They are co-parenting beautifully and feeding the baby up to 10 times a day.
“Baby Sphengic has already stolen our hearts!” Said Tish Hannan, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium Penguin Department Supervisor.
“We love watching the proud parents doting and taking turns caring for their baby chick.”
“With that said, the first 20 days of a penguin chick’s life are the most vulnerable so it’s extra important that the chick is very happy, healthy and well fed by his parents.”
Sphen and Magic became inseparable before breeding season, waddling around together and going for swims. The older and more mature Sphen then presented Magic with a special stone, which, according to Sea Life, 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 Sea Life team were so happy with the couple’s parenting skills that they gave them a real egg, which was taken from a couple who found two eggs too much to handle. Gentoo penguins only have the resources to incubate one egg and the second “back up” chick usually dies.
It takes the penguins about 34 days to incubate an egg and couple’s share incubating duties, swapping roles every 1 – 3 days. It then takes the tiny chick up to 3 days to break out of it’s shell, after which the parents begin to co-parent.
You can visit Baby Sphengic and it’s parents at Sea Life Sydney Penguin Expedition Exhibit or get up close and behind the scenes with the penguins at Sydney Aquarium by booking your Penguin Passport.
“We can’t wait for the world to fall in love with Baby Sphengic like they did with our amazing same-sex couple, Sphen and Magic” said Hannan.