Can Penguins Eat Chocolate? (Answered)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Who doesn’t adore penguins? Penguins are adorable flightless birds.

They are known for their black and white-colored feathers called counter-shading. 

An adult penguin consumes roughly 2-3 kilograms of food per day. Most times, they could eat twice as much.

This is mostly to build body fat, store food, and feeding their young.

Penguins eat a range of sea creatures. In any case, we might wish to give these birds some treats.

So, can penguins eat chocolate? Let’s find out.

Can Penguins Eat Chocolate?

Can Penguins Eat Chocolate

The short answer is no. Despite your good intentions, it is not advisable to feed penguins or any other bird chocolates. 

To humans, chocolate is not considered poisonous. However, that’s not the case in the bird kingdom.

Chocolate is one treat that can result in rapid death of birds. Surprisingly, that’s the case.

Chocolate intake can expose penguins to health risks such as seizures and diarrhea.

In the worst-case scenario, they may die shortly after taking chocolate-based treats or substances.

Continue reading for more information on feeding chocolates to penguins.

 Are There Any Benefits To Feeding Them Chocolate?

For humans, chocolate may have health benefits despite being tagged “guilty pleasure”.

A healthy consumption of chocolate have been found to lower blood sugar, improve brain function, heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.

However, for penguins, chocolates do not have any nutritional value. Penguins Consuming Chocolates can lead to health complications such as

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Result in hyperactivity
  • Induce tremors and seizures
  • Possible death.  

According to research, signs of toxicity usually occur between 2-4 hours after ingestion. However, sometimes it could occur after 6-12 hours. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do penguins have teeth

How Often Can You Feed Them Chocolate?

It is advisable not to feed them chocolate at all.

Penguins are warm-blooded animals with a limited number of taste buds.

Typically the human tongue has five basic tastes which include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.

Penguins can only taste salty and sour out of the five fundamental tastes.

According to researchers, penguins have lost three of the five basic tastes as a result of evolution.

“As far as we know, penguins are the only birds that have lost three of the five basic tastes,” says Jianzhi George Zhang.

Scientists believe that the protein Trpm5 is to blame for this loss.

Trpm5 may be in charge of calcium entrance into these taste receptor cells, which respond to bitter and sweet components.

Trpm5 may not respond effectively in low-temperature religions, according to some theories.

Hence the loss of their taste. 

Also, because penguins swallow their prey whole. They don’t have time to bite into their meal and savor the possible flavor.

This could also be a contributing factor to their loss of taste.

However, their ability to taste sour and salt plays a significant role in helping them distinguish between rotten and fresh seafood.

Since the penguin’s tongue has lost the majority of its tasting abilities they are unable to savor these delicious chocolates.

 Can Baby Penguins Eat Chocolate?

The short answer is NO. Chocolate should never be fed to penguins regardless of their size and age.

Chocolate, as previously indicated, can be harmful to the health of penguins.

Many people may wonder, “What then do I feed penguin chicks?”

Like every juvenile, baby penguins should be fed milk. Interestingly, penguins are known to produce milk.

Although, they do not have milk like mammals do. But, they produce a secretion known as crop milk.

This milk is a bit like a cheese-like consistency.

However, unlike other milk-producing species, male penguins are the only ones who can produce milk.

Yes, you guessed correctly. Penguins do not rely primarily on their mothers to feed their offspring.

Male and female penguins take turns in caring for their offspring.

Crop milk is stored in a muscle pouch near the throat of penguins. The lining of their crop is used to make crop milk.

When their young are hungry, they feed it to them through a mouth-to-mouth method. Yeah, penguins practically throw up in the mouth of their young.  

For the first few days after birth, penguin chicks are fully reliant on crop milk.

Crop milk contains nutrients similar to those produced by mammals for their offspring. They are, nonetheless, more nutritious than mammalian milk.

Crop milk, interestingly, is high in fat and protein. They also contain a growth factor.

Wondering if humans can consume this milk?’

Well, that’s a certain yes. Crop milk is also safe and healthy for humans. It can be found in some ice cream recipes.

However, penguins’ crop milk is difficult to come by.

Also check out this article I wrote on can penguins freeze to death

 Can Penguins Eat Fruit?

Fruits are an excellent source of essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber. However, penguins do not eat fruits.

As earlier stated, penguins have only the basic taste of salt and sour. These limited taste buds do not allow them to enjoy fruits.

It is safe to say they don’t care about taste.

It is vital to understand a penguin’s diet. Penguins thrive on diets such as fishes, crustaceans, cephalopods, and amphipods.

Food choices vary amongst penguin species. And, this helps limit competition for food amongst these birds. 

Interestingly, some penguins, such as the Adelie penguin, can go for days without eating.

This is because they’ve adapted to living off the layers of fat that they’ve stored up from past feasting.

Do Penguins Eat Apples?

Apple is one of the widely grown fruit in the world. This delicious fruit is high in nutritional value.

They also come in a variety of colors such as red and green.

However, these birds do not eat apples. This is however for obvious reasons. First, penguins live in an extremely cold environment.

Hence, their habitat do not support the growth of this amazing fruit. 

Secondly, penguins are used to devouring their food whole. So, if they should eat apples, they may probably shock.

Unlike their slimy seafood, apples may not go down their throat that easily.  

Furthermore, penguins are carnivores. They mostly consume fish, krill, crabs, lobster, etc.

Despite harsh temperatures and a restricted food supply, penguins will not settle for fruits.

Are There Anything To Be Aware Of Before Feeding Penguins Chocolate?

Human food is not suitable for birds. Chocolate may be yummy and healthy for humans.

However, in the case of penguins, they can be harmful. This is because chocolate is rich in Theobromine and caffeine. 

Caffeine and theobromine belong to a chemical class of methylated xanthines.

These substances, however, are difficult for penguins to digest. They affect the central nervous system and the kidneys greatly.

They are known to produce an increase in motor activity as well as increased urine production.

Seizures and dehydration can result from this as well. 

These methylated xanthines substances are also known to cause fast respiration and a high body temperature.

Theobromine is classified as a stimulant. When birds consume it, it may cause vomiting and seizures.

It is important to understand that no amount of chocolate is safe for your bird.

There are also other treats to keep away from penguins, they include; 

Avocado: Avocados are high in persin. Persin is a substance that kills fungus in the plant. 

When penguins consume this fruit, it may cause heart damage, respiratory problems, weakness, and even death. There is no certain amount that can be considered safe for penguins.  

Fruit pits and apple seeds: Although apple seeds are good for some other bird species, not for penguins.

Penguins are carnivores hence, seeds can be toxic to their health. 

Onions and garlic: These vegetables are thought to be nutritious. Birds, on the other hand, react differently to them.

Sulphur compounds are known to be present in onions. This irritates the lining of the bird’s mouth, esophagus, and crop when eaten.

Allicin, found in garlic, causes anemia and frailty in birds. It is not suggested to offer these vegetables to penguins.

Plastic: Ingesting plastic is extremely harmful to the lives of penguins and other marine species.

Plastics can accumulate in penguin stomachs. This can interfere with the digestion of real food.

According to research, nearly all marine birds, including penguins, will swallow plastics by mistake by 2050.


Penguins are adorable birds. They eat an array of foods. However, they should not be given chocolate.

Chocolate contains substances like theobromine and caffeine. This substance is harmful to the health of penguins.

It can cause health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.

Seafood like squids, krill, crabs, and fish should be fed to penguins instead. Crop milk should be provided to baby penguins. 

Photo of author

About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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