Sphen and Magic, the only gay couple at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, first bonded two years ago. It was around that time when the two were provided a spare egg to hatch after they’d been trying to hatch a rock.
Now, their chick Lara is out and enjoying her adult life, but Sphen and Magic still have their parental instinct kicking.
The Aquarium’s “power couple” has made everyone happy by becoming proud dads for the second time. “If one of our pairs has too many eggs or are not good at looking after their eggs, we will sometimes foster these eggs out to other pairs like Sphen and Magic. We gave Sphen and Magic an egg to incubate as they have proven to be good parents in the past,” the Aquarium’s spokesperson said.
The staff described the pair as “attentive” and “incredibly caring,” which just makes them the heart touching penguin parents out there.
Their relationship started back in 2018. They would take swims together and wouldn’t part. Soon after the breeding season started, the couple began collecting stones for their love nest.
It was then the staff noticed they were trying to hatch a rock and gave them a dummy egg to care for. Sphen and Magic left everyone surprised by how well they cared for that egg that the staff decided they were ready to foster a real egg on their own.
Same-sex pairings like Sphen and Magic are quite common in the animal kingdom with approximately 450 species showing same-sex behavior.
“Penguins, including Gentoo penguins, are among the many species in which male-male or female-female pairs occur frequently. Adopting of eggs in the wild can occur with an abandoned egg; however, it is likely that this egg could be infertile, which is why it has been left.”
“Females will also mate with males before returning to their female-female pair and subsequently lay an egg that the females both raise. In human care, they have proven to be wonderful parent options and will care for and nurture their egg and chick as if it were their own.”
Sphen is the epitome of a proud, protective dad. “Recently, Sphen and Magic’s chick has grown big enough to start taking short trips away from the nest, exploring the environment. Sphen followed the chick closely on these little expeditions, guiding it and protecting it from anyone that the chick might wander up to.”