Brutal penguin-infidelity video leads to priceless Twitter flap

Eyes are gouged and blood flies as the sweet little tuxedoed birds show off their vicious sides in a Jerry Springer-style free for all.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Generally, penguins had a pretty good reputation. When we humans thought of them, if at all, we thought of the cute little tuxedoed guys guarding their egg in 2005's hit documentary "March of the Penguins."

Well, throw all that carefully earned goodwill out the window. Penguins are terrifying.

Late Friday, the National Geographic Channel tweeted out a video excerpt from "Animal Fight Night" on Nat Geo Wild. And now our penguin illusions are forever destroyed.

In the clip, a male penguin returns home to discover his spouse has taken up with another guy. And then an episode of "Cheaters" turns into a full-on "Jerry Springer" show.

There's beak-fighting. There's blood-flinging. There's eye-gouging. And there's a seemingly pitiless narrator who's as cold as the penguins' snowy homeland. At various times, he accuses the poor husband of flipping out, dubs the other penguin "the homewrecker," and eventually declares the lady penguin has "no time for losers."

We learn some science facts along the way. For example, because penguins don't fly, they don't have light, hollow bones in their wings, but solid ones, all the better to smack the heck out of a rival. "They use them like baseball bats to club each other," declares the no-mercy narrator, who may just have watched "The Walking Dead" Negan episode.

Much of the priceless internet reaction was gleefully chronicled by Nat Geo.

Inevitably, someone started a parody account for the homewrecker penguin, who defends his cheating ways.

Of course the husband penguin had to jump in on social media with a poll.

And don't forget the wife penguin, who felt she was being unfairly painted as a villain.

But my favorite came when the baby of the split-apart couple also got an account, and asked the internet to weigh in on his custody.

Hang in there, little Pengy. Things will work out. A little bird told me.