Animals

Move Over, Cupid: Penguins Exchanging Felt Hearts Are Our New Valentine’s Mascots

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As if penguins weren’t adorable enough already, some especially cute birds are giving each other romantic gifts this Valentine’s Day. According to Phys.org, these penguin Valentines are part of what’s become the sweetest annual tradition at an aquarium in that city.

Over at the California Academy of Sciences, biologists hand out red felt hearts to the African penguins — and then let nature take its course from there! 

penguins valentines day

Good luck, fellas (and ladies). (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The sweet animals — usually the males — grab the felt hearts with their beaks and walk back to their nests, where they often carry the gifts back to their mates. We’re sure the lucky birds receiving these gifts are so thankful for the thoughtful gesture, but we also can’t help but wonder if any of them feel a bit shy or sheepish on this holiday. (Anyone else having flashbacks to those adorably awkward Valentine’s Day gift exchanges from elementary school?)

penguin valentines

Who could resist a Valentine that waddled this adorably? (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The heart-melting activity, which is part of the aquarium’s captive-breeding program to help increase the population of these endangered penguins, also serves quite a useful purpose for the charming birds long after Valentine’s Day is over. The penguins often end up using the same felt hearts as part of the material to build their nests later on. (Interestingly enough, wild penguins actually use similar materials to build their nests in the outside world far from a captive environment.) As you might imagine, this surprisingly practical measure also serves to help further strengthen these couples’ bonds.

african-penguins

This time, the heart marks the spot. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Talk about home being where the heart is — literally!

Next, check out some adorable two-faced cats that’ll make you do a double-take in the video below:

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