Electra and Viola are the first same-sex penguins to become parents by hatching an adopted egg at the Oceanogràfic Valencia aquarium

By Eric Todisco
August 20, 2020 02:11 PM
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Electra and Viola
Oceanogràfic València

Introducing new parents Electra and Viola!

On Monday, the Oceanogràfic Valencia aquarium in Spain announced that Electra and Viola, a same-sex penguin couple, are now proud mothers after incubating and hatching an adopted egg — a first for the aquarium.

The aquarium, home to a colony of 25 Gentoo penguins, said in a blog post and on social media that Electra and Viola's caregivers recently noticed that the pair showed signs of preparing to reproduce — like building a nest out of stones together — so the aquarium decided to take a fertile egg from another couple and give it to the two lovebirds.

Soon enough, Electra and Viola "successfully carried out the entire breeding process and now have their first chick," the Oceanogràfic said.

"We are very proud of the moms," the aquarium added.

Oceanogràfic València

The incubation period, which is normally carried out by a male and female, involves eggs  —  typically two for each laying — that hatch at 38 days. The chicks usually become independent at 75 days, weighing approximately 13-15 lbs.

Oceanogràfic València

While the Oceanogràfic called Electra and Viola an "exceptional pair," the aquarium noted that same-sex couples are not entirely uncommon.

"The formation of same-sex pairs is common in more than 450 species of animals and occurs both in zoos and in nature," the aquarium said.

"It’s the first time this has happened in our aquarium," the Oceanogràfic added. "So … Welcome to the world, little one!”