Two gay penguins at a zoo in the Netherlands brazenly stole an entire nest from another couple, complete with eggs, in an attempt to raise a rainbow family. Their efforts might be in vain, zookeepers at Amersfoort’s Dierenpark Zoo told RTV Utrecht, though, because it is believed the pair nest-napped from a lesbian penguin couple, meaning the eggs are most likely unfertilized and will not hatch.
"We also had a lesbian couple at the time,” zookeeper Sander Drost explained recently. “It could be that they stole it from that couple.”
The gay penguin couple are the dominant pair at the zoo, and like good fathers everywhere, they are dutifully taking turns trying to keep their stolen treasure warm. They made headlines last year with a similar heist, stealing a single egg from an unguarded nest.
“The males took the egg from a straight couple at an unguarded moment,” zookeeper Marc Belt explained to RTV Utrecht last year. Noting that “homosexuality is more common in penguins,” he went on to observe it was nonetheless “remarkable” that the couple “managed to get hold of an egg.”
Penguins breed twice a year, and the desire of same-sex penguin couples to raise a family is not uncommon. Lesbian penguins Electra and Viola incubated and hatched an adopted egg earlier this year. A pair of same-sex penguins were notably split up in 2011 in Toronto in an effort to mate with female penguins as their species is endangered. Before them, in 2009 there were proud fathers Z and Vielpunkt in Humboldt who, like Electra and Viola, successfully hatched an egg together. There’s even an exclusive male community of penguins in Hamburg — though they haven't all shown signs of same-sex intimacy.
More recently in 2018, same-sex penguin couple Magic and Sphen hatched and raised their own chick at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Better known as Sphengic, the pair had always seemed to be more than friends and then started collecting pebbles to create a nest during mating season, as is typical among Gentoo penguin parents. Sphen even gave Magic a “special stone” which, according to the aquarium, “is the equivalent to proposing in the love language of penguins.”