A pair of gay penguins at a Denmark zoo “kidnapped” a straight couple’s hatchling and tried to take it in as their own, a zookeeper says.
And after that, the feisty confrontation between the two couples was caught on video. Nina Christensen, head keeper at the Odense Zoo, said it’s not unusual for penguins to steal an egg from another member of their species, according to The Evening Standard.
“Penguins steal eggs from one another because their nature is telling them they need to care for their young,” she said, according to the outlet. “And this time it was a chick they took.”
The penguins are considered gay because they paired up this mating season — but could find themselves in a heterosexual relationship next year, Christensen told The Evening Standard.
Sandie Hedegård Munck, an animal keeper at the zoo, told Denmark broadcaster DR that the “homosexual” penguins had “kidnapped” the hatchling likely after its parents had left it alone, according to a translation of the story.
“I think the female has been out to get her bath, and then it has been the male’s turn to care for the kid,” she said, according to DR. “He may have left that, and that couple has thought, it’s a pity, we’re snapping.”
The zoo shared a video of the moment when the straight penguins confronted the gay penguins as they hovered over the stolen chick. It wrote on the post that the stolen baby “triggered a fight among the two penguin pairs.”
The two male penguins are seen standing over the baby in the video when the hatchling’s parents walk into the room. The pair of male penguins begin to make loud sounds in the direction of the other couple, the video shows, as if to ward off any competition.
Finally, a zookeeper in the video is seen returning the baby to its parents — before presenting the disgruntled gay penguins with an egg of their own. The zoo wrote on Facebook that it paired that unusual penguin couple with an egg that had once belonged to a single mother.
It might be for the best: Christensen said in an interview with The Evening Standard that the “kidnapped” baby had been calling out for its parents because “it was worried.” Now that chick is back with its parents, while the male penguins have a baby of their own.
And so far, she said, everything seems to be going swimmingly.
“They are perfect now, and looking after their egg,” she said, according to The Evening Standard. “The single mum is fine too.”