Adorable video shows picky penguins at Japanese aquarium refusing to eat cheaper fish

  • To save money, a Japanese aquarium switched to cheaper fish to feed the penguins; however, they were not thrilled by the downgrade in food quality.
  • A video posted by Ann News on July 4 shows a penguin adamantly turning its head away as an aquarium employee tries to feed it the fish.
  • The penguins have been fed saba rather than their usual aji, a Japanese horse mackerel, since May.
  • A head zookeeper explained that many of the penguins will take the fish into their beak but will spit them out shortly after.
  • For the picky eaters who refuse the new fish, the zookeeper stated that they have returned to their usual meal.

After a Japanese aquarium switched the penguins’ food to a cheaper type of fish to save money, the picky and fussy eaters are refusing to transition into the new diet. 

In a video posted by Ann News on July 4, penguins at the Hakone-en Aquarium in the Kanagawa prefecture of south Tokyo are seen firmly turning their heads away from the new fish as an aquarium employee attempts to feed them. Since May, the penguins have been fed saba fish rather than their usual fatty aji, a Japanese horse mackerel. 

The video has garnered 742,655 views and over 7,000 likes at the time of this writing.

Some of the penguins have purportedly refused to eat the cheaper replacement while others simply peck their beaks at it.

“Even if they’ll take it in their beaks, they’ll just spit it out,” head zookeeper Shimamoto Hiroki told Vice World News. 

According to Shimamoto, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of running an aquarium has increased by approximately 20%. The Hakone-en Aquarium has also turned off its lights and reduced the frequency of cleaning filtration tanks to a safe amount that does not adversely affect the animals. 

The aquarium transitioned its 20 penguins and five seals to the cheaper fish in May, and approximately 30 to 40% of the mammals at the aquarium are now being fed the cheaper fish as well.  

“I’m not sure if the animals can taste a significant difference, but you can tell they’re not used to it,” Shimamoto said. 

The aquarium is home to around 32,000 animals, including sharks, seals and otters. Admission fees to the aquarium will not be raised as Shimamoto hopes to attract as many visitors as possible. 

Shimamoto added that for the penguins and other mammals who refuse to eat the new fish, they are being fed their original diet. 

“We would never force any animal to eat what they don’t want,” Shimamoto was quoted as saying per Daily Mail. 

Featured Image via Ann News

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