A pair of female penguins at an aquarium in Spain have welcomed a baby chick, the Oceanogràfic València aquarium announced this month. The two penguins, Electra and Viola, adopted an egg from another penguin couple, incubated and hatched it, and will now raise the chick, the aquarium said in a press release.
Of the 25 Gentoo penguins at the aquarium, three couples have welcomed babies so far this breeding season, Oceanogràfic València said.
Electra and Viola's adoption is a first for the aquarium, which called the couple "an exceptional pair."
Same-sex penguin couples are not unusual. In fact, more than 450 species of animals form same-sex partnerships, according to Oceanogràfic València.
In 2018, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia welcomed a baby of their own. Sphen and Magic — or "Sphengic," as the duo is called — became close during breeding season and started to collect pebbles together to create a nest. The two male Gentoo penguins were given a dummy egg to take care of, and after showing aquarium staff how committed they were to their "egg," they were given the chance to nurture a real one. Like most penguin couples, the two swapped incubating duties daily until the egg hatched.at the
Similarly, Electra and Viola began building their own nest out of stones and caregivers decided to give them a fertile egg from another penguin pair, the aquarium said.
Penguins normally lay two eggs at a time, which take 38 days to hatch. Each parent takes turns incubating the egg in the nest, and once the chicks are born, they usually take 75 days to become independent.