Dennis Kübler, who looks after the penguins at Sea Life Konstanz, found himself not only pursued by Bonaparte for his boots, but also many of the other penguins who decided they also wanted a piece of rubber sole.
The mass enchantment of the Gentoo penguins for Kübler’s black and white boots finally forced him to switch footwear – to give the birds a chance of mating with each other.
“For three days I’ve been going with blue rubber boots in the enclosure,” Kübler says.
Bonaparte, first fell in love with Kübler’s boots when mating season began about four weeks ago, rubbing up against them and apparently mistaking them for a lady penguin lying on her stomach.
Other penguins soon caught onto the idea, competing with Bonaparte for the boots’ affections, forcing Kübler to get a pair of blue boots, which do not seem to be so penguin-friendly.
He says that Bonaparte now interacts much more with real females – although the bird was initially baffled and bemused.
This is not the first time German penguins have fallen hard for something – or someone – not of their own kind.
Sandy the penguin at Münster’s zoo had a long-term on-again, off-again crush on her human keeper Peter Vollbracht. Earlier this year, however, she settled down with a penguin named Hermann.
The love lives of penguins at Konstanz became the focus of tabloid attention last year when two male penguins paired up and have unsuccessfully been trying to mate.
Kübler says he’ll likely put his favourite boots back on once Bonaparte finds a real partner.
“Penguins are monogamous,” Kübler he said.