Male penguin couple get real egg after trying to hatch a stone

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 16 August 2019

Skipper and Ping are two male king penguins that live at Zoo Berlin in Germany. The two came from another zoo in Hamburg in April and paired up, keeping each other company.

Soon after they arrived however, zoo staff noticed that just like a male and female penguin couple, where the father and mother take turns to incubate an egg, Skipper and Ping’s nesting instincts kicked in.

According to the zoo, the couple would take turns to try and incubate rocks and pieces of fish.

Speaking about how often same-sex penguins form pairs, Maximilian Jäger spokesperson for Zoo Berlin said, “I don’t think it is the majority of penguins, but it is not rare either. We are sure they would be good parents because they were so nice to their stone.”

This is not the first pairing up of male penguins in a zoo: chinstrap penguins Roy and Silo were a same-sex male pair in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

In 1998 zoo staff reported that they began to performing mating rituals, although no sexual acts. This followed with the couple trying to hatch a rock in 1999, much like Skipper and Ping.

Last year The Guardian reported that Sphen and Magic, two male gentoo penguins from Sydney Aquarium became “inseparable” and began collecting pebbles to build a nest.

After being given a dummy egg to look after, the keepers who were pleased with their efforts, gave them a real egg to foster.

 

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