Two Same-Sex Penguin Couples Form At London Aquarium

by : Julia Banim on : 12 May 2021 14:03
Two Same-Sex Penguin Couples Form At London AquariumSea Life London

Two same-sex penguin couples have formed at an aquarium in London, and it’s enough to warm the coldest of hearts.

From Monday onwards, May 17, those paying a visit to Sea Life London will be able to meet two all-female and all-adorable pairs of Gentoo penguins.


The couples in question are Marmalade and Chickpea, and Marama and Rocky, with both pairs beginning their respective romances during the annual mating season.

Two penguins at Sea Life London aquarium (Sea Life London)Sea Life London

Sea Life manager Catherine Pritchard told BBC News:

Without a doubt, our Gentoo penguins are one of our most loved creatures and we’re so pleased that we’re able to reopen our doors in time for guests to be able to witness their amazing courtship rituals.

Gentoo penguins are the ultimate romantics, and their dating techniques are truly unique – so much so that as humans, we could certainly learn a thing or two from their passion and commitment to finding a mate.

As well as our male-female penguin couples, this breeding season we also have two female same-sex couples who are also going through their nesting rituals.


Same-sex penguin couples are fairly common, according to Sea Life London, and will sometimes adopt eggs that have been abandoned by other couples.

Mating rituals among penguins, whatever their sexuality may be, are extremely sweet, with penguins known to be quite romantic and loyal creatures. In many cases, they will choose the same mate every season for the duration of their lives.

Courtship will often involve presenting the gift of a smooth pebble to a prospective mate, a gift that’s then used to construct a nest for any eggs that are laid. I may have been indoors for too long, but that fact just made me well up a bit.

Two penguins at Sea Life London aquarium (Sea Life London)Sea Life London

Pritchard added:

Our expert care team are monitoring the penguins’ progress and we’re hoping that we’re lucky enough to add a new chick to the colony when we welcome guests back.

Penguins at the aquarium are carefully monitored during mating season, with members of staff keeping an watchful eye on their nesting progress.

I can’t wait to meet these loved up penguins as they navigate the early days of their relationships and get used to each other’s annoying habits. A true love story for the ages.


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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Animals, aquarium, Now, penguins


BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Penguins: Same-sex couples formed at London aquarium