SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is celebrating an egg-cellent start to the Gentoo Penguin breeding season with the first eggs laid for the year.
The 13 nests consisting of small pebbles are proving to be hit with the Gentoo colony, with several penguin couples currently sitting on eggs and some including K.T and Mawson, and Pickles and Gus sitting on two eggs!
Bird Manager at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, Sarina Walsh said it’s an exciting time in the Penguin Playground exhibit, however keepers must remain cautious.
“We are very excited, but also remain vigilant as there is always a chance the eggs are infertile, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed! Keepers have been keeping a close watch over the Gentoo penguin colony and feeding them a little extra during the day to ensure both mum and dad have plenty of energy and nutrients,” said Ms Walsh.
Over the coming weeks, these black and white love birds will continue to flaunt their romantic courting behaviour involving bowing to each other and singing. The happy nesters will share egg incubation responsibilities, swapping duties daily.
Attitudes can turn icy during breeding season as pebble envy is also a natural behaviour of the cheeky Gentoo Penguin. Throughout the school holidays, visitors can try and spot these feathered thieves in action as the males compete for the attention of their chosen female by stealing pebbles from rival nests.
The incubation period is approximately 35 days, with the small beak of the tiny Gentoo chick “pipping” out of its egg taking up to three days.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s successful Gentoo Penguin breeding program joins the King Penguin and the Weedy Seadragon breeding programs, both amongst the most successful in the world.
The Penguin Playground exhibit is just one of the 12 new zones of discovery at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, open to the public throughout the entire school holidays.
Click here to explore the 12 new zones!