Are Penguins Dangerous?

Penguins are the most loved and adorable birds in the marine. They are not dangerous to humans but yes, they become aggressive to their counterparts and predators depending on the situation and necessity. Penguins lie between the bird family and the fish family.

In the olden days, the penguin was considered to be a fish. Since the loss of flying ability due to their proficiency in swimming, their bones became stronger and they lost the ability to fly and finally, they became flightless birds.

Southern Hemisphere is the only habitat of penguins in an exception with the Galapagos penguin which lives near the equator. Since they live in the last of the earth they naturally have fewer interactions with humans. At situations of any kind, there will not be a life-threatening attack by the penguins to the humans.

There are certain minor injuries to humans recorded because of the painful bites by the penguins. When threatened the penguins fear and try to defend themselves from the opponent even if it is human.

Crested penguins like rockhopper penguins are aggressive. When the rockhopper penguins sense the fear they get ready to bite with their strong bill and chase their opponent out of their site.

Gentoo penguin incubating the egg on the stone nest
Gentoo penguin incubating the egg on the stone nest

Penguin’s Reaction to Humans:

When penguins see the humans near their nesting sites, they become aggressive. One needs to protect his legs from being bitten by the attractive birds. Not the penguins are all the time aggressive. During your leisure stay at the beach, you can find some penguins approaching you to look at you out of curiosity. They don’t come to bother you unnecessarily.

Penguin’s waddling walk and cute appearance may invite humans to reach them. But in any tourist destination where there is a penguin colony, it is highly restricted to disturb their living. Authorized research people are allowed to near the penguins for the study.

Not Every Penguin’s Peck Humans:

Emperor penguins do not show aggressiveness towards the human or another animal. Emperor penguins are mild and they show less of furiousness. King penguins, little penguins and others that have seen less of land predators are comfortable with humans.

When the chicks of emperor penguins seem threatened the parents get aggressive but they do not get angry for any other reason. African penguins are much easy with humans and even they swim on the beach together.

Tourists and King penguins
Tourists and King penguins

Behaviors Due to Aggression:

  • Bill as a Weapon:

Penguins use their strong bill to defend the opponent. When they breed in large colonies they take up a fight among the same species. The fight is mainly because of the privacy and protection of chicks and nests.

The head moves up and fronts when they combat and cover their eyes by compressing the eyelids. Sometimes the fight may happen between the same species or sometimes with different species.

  • Stares Which Is All Enough to Threaten the Rival:

Penguins can stare at any position they rest. They may stare when they sit or stand. The point the beak and stare one eye focused and show the awareness to the temporary enemy.

This behavior of the penguins is common in the breeding season to protect the nest and the chick. The penguins may point the opponent closer and stare and may get ready for an attack. During this action, they make the call out of aggression which is strong and angry.

Shocking and Disgusting Behaviors of Penguins:

  • Even though emperor penguins are found to be less aggressive, they have a crooked behavior of kidnapping the chicks of another female. The fight occurs between the mothers of another family. The fight may be a terrible one as the outcome of frustration.
  • Adelie penguins steal stones for nesting from the neighboring penguin’s family. Male share the stones to the other female to mate in the absence of the partner. The stealing of stones is done by both the sexes occasionally during winter.
  • Gentoo penguins are extremely territorial. They defend their province at any cost. African penguins are also aggressive when threatened by other birds or animals. They run chasing them pointing their bill.
  • Sometimes penguins have a homosexual relationship when they lose female’s interest to mate.
Aggressive Macaroni penguins
Aggressive Macaroni penguins

Present Day’s Protection to Penguins:

Penguins in the present situations are protected by taking the highly endangered species under captivity by providing extra support for their living. Organizations and zoos improve their environment for the natural behavior of the penguins.

The temperament of penguins is the same even when they are in zoos. They want their privacy and safe chicks; when other species of penguins seen entering the nesting sites they develop anger and attack them using their beak and loud noise.

Tourist places near penguin’s colony are strictly mentioned to follow the rules during their visit to the endangered species territory. Only legally permitted people are allowed to touch or observe the species closer.

Apart from predators, penguins are endangered by human disturbances, oil pollution, overfishing, and global warming. State and world conservational organizations implement methods to protect the existing species of these beautiful flightless birds.


Penguins are not dangerous because they have a minimum number of predators in their habitat. They don’t have sharp teeth or claws to be as dangerous as other wild animals. Researchers say that millions of years ago, the Penguins were as tall as an adult human with a bulky body. In that case, maybe because of the colossus penguin there would have been some higher rate of injury and danger when compared to the existing species.

Crested penguins like chinstrap and rockhopper penguins are said to be the most aggressive amongst the penguins’ species. Emperor penguins are characterized to be humble of all the penguins.


Image Credit: 

  1. Gentoo penguin incubating the egg on the stone nest by 358611 / Pixabay License
  2. Tourists and King penguins by Liam Quinn / CC BY
  3. Aggressive Macaroni penguins by Liam Quinn / CC BY

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