Dingle Oceanworld, an aquarium located on the southwestern coast of Ireland, is cheering for what is thought to be one of the only lesbian penguin couples in captivity. The aquarium’s keepers recently noticed two females displaying courting behavior, including bowing to each other. Rumor has it, they’re totally in love.
Penelope, 7, and Missy, 6, are believed to be Ireland’s very first same-sex penguin couple.
The amorous Gentoo penguins were among five penguin couples who paired off for the breeding season. While it’s not that uncommon to see a same-sex penguin couple, keepers say it’s rarer for two females to pair off than two males. NYC’s Central Park Zoo has been home to a number of same-sex penguins couples, but, yes, they’ve mostly been males, notably Roy and Silo, who made headlines in the late ‘90s. (On a sad note, they didn’t stay together.)
On the Dingle Oceanworld website, there are biographies of Penelope and Missy that list their ages and describe their personality traits. Missy is characterized as “fun loving…confident and brave.” She loves playing and interacting with visitors through the large windows of the enclosure. Her partner Penelope, on the other hand, “is a bit shy but absolutely loves swimming, preening, and keeping herself looking clean and beautiful.”