Gay penguins 'kidnap' chick from straight couple at Denmark zoo

A gay penguin couple in a Denmark zoo "kidnapped" a chick whose parents were being neglectful - and the ensuing custody battle was captured on camera.

The altercation took place at Odense Zoo, which has been operating since 1930.

The pair of male penguins are known to be rather clucky and take an interest in other penguins' eggs and chicks. Sadly, the two are unable to have their own children as neither of them are capable of laying an egg.

On Tuesday (local time), the couple saw their chance to become parents when a male and female penguin went for a swim, leaving their chick by himself.

The baby wasn't alone for long, as the couple swooped in and ushered him away.

Zookeeper Sandie Hedgegard Munck told Denmark broadcaster DR that it was the chick's father who was being a neglectful parent, as his mother is very caring and will often become aggressive when zoo staff get too close to her baby.

"I think the female went to have her bath, and then it was the male's turn to care for the kid," she theorised.

"He may have then left, and then the couple thought 'It's a pity, we'll take it'."

When the parents returned to find their chick missing, they weren't best pleased. What followed was an epic showdown dubbed 'Pingvindrama' by the zoo, who captured the whole confrontation on camera.

The gay couple can be seen sheltering their newly adopted son between them, while his biological parents waddle around looking for him. When they hear his unique squawks, they zero in on his kidnappers and begin squawking loudly.

A zookeeper had to get involved in the fight to ensure the chick's safety, and returned him to his real parents.

Ms Munck says after seeing how much the gay couple wanted a baby and how they cared for the chick during his brief adoption, she decided to give them a second chance at parenthood.

They were given an egg from a female penguin who wouldn't be able to take care of it.

The zoo doesn't yet know if the egg was fertilised - but if a chick is successfully hatched, the couple will be allowed to keep it and care for it as their own child.