MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– While many people run out to get flowers and candy for their Valentine, penguins have their own courting rituals. They bow and shake their head towards each other and get pretty vocal.
Since these are African penguins the outdoor exhibit is even a bit chilly for them. But they have found a way to keep warm.
“Love is always in the air at the Penguin Pavilion,” said Tracy Camp, Supervisor of Penguins at Mystic Aquarium.
In fact, Mystic Aquarium is doing a couples countdown to Valentine’s Day. Fourteen mated pairs of penguins are helping countdown the fourteen days in February and these birds aren’t just fly by night couples.
“They are one of the very few animals on the planet that will stay with a mate their entire lives,” said Camp. “Some of our mated pairs have been together now for thirty years.”
Green Black and Green Blue have been together since 2003 and are great grandparents.
“They have had several offspring over the years, and their offspring have even gone to have their offspring, and even their own offspring,” said Camp.
Green Pink and Blue Red’s love story began when they were kids or rather chicks.
“He wasn’t in the nest with his parents so we would have to go search and he would always leave his parents and go visit the other chick, and sort of stay over and have a sleepover overnight,” said Camp.
They’ve been together ever since and have had several offspring including Kai the youngest member of the colony who was born last February. This is nesting season so several other penguins are now caring for their eggs.
The eggs usually hatch between 38 and 42 days so any day now they may see some new chicks running around the nesting area.
Among the wannabe parents are Purple Purple and Grey Grey who are a same sex couple. Both females have laid unfertilized eggs.
“We don’t expect anything to hatch out of those eggs but they are sitting on all of their eggs in their nest,” said Camp.
She says like the other couples in the colony they have a bond which most likely won’t be broken even if an eligible bachelor comes along.