Do Penguins Bite or Peck?

Yes, penguins do both bite and peck. They have a sharp, long bill to help them hunt, stay safe, dig and feed the young. The beak helps them stay safe as they peck at or bite at the danger approaching them.

The bill of the penguin is strong and has a bony structure. It can easily harm your skin if used to attack. Generally, the penguins do not attack, but even a rock can hit you if you are walking wrong on it. So, it depends on how you handle it. And remember, they are still animals, not humans.

Well, if you want to know if they peck more or bite harder if they do it on purpose or just by nature, you need to stick to the page and read till the end. Let us know more about the structure of the bill to be clear on how they attack!

Do Penguins Have Teeth?

No, they don’t have teeth. The penguins, however, have sharp bills with tight horn plates. The horn plates extend to make a broad jaw which forms into a beak that curves at the end.

Penguin bill

In various species, there is a hook at the end of the bill to pierce through the prey’s skin. The hook is the cutting edge of the bill. 

So, teeth or no teeth, the penguins are self-sufficient to prey, hunt and attack. They can peck and even bite to harm the danger coming near.

Here are some points about the types of bills they have:

  • Fish eater penguins have thin and long bills.
  • Krill-eating penguins have shorter and stouter bills.
  • Spines in the beak can easily harm a zookeeper’s skin by scratching or breaking it.
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Let us have a look at the table to see how the various penguin kinds have a difference in beak shape.

Penguin TypePenguins Bill
Emperor PenguinLong and narrow to catch the deep water fish
Chinstrap PenguinPointed and narrow to catch fish and krill
Adelie PenguinShort and sturdy to break through ice to find food
Rockhopper PenguinCurved with a sharp tip to hold on to prey
Galapagos PenguinUpturned to allow the penguin to catch fish near the surface of water

Do Penguins Bite or Peck?

Earlier, I mentioned that Penguins bite and peck both. Their beaks are designed for hunting animals, eating them and swallowing them easily. So when you talk about the bill of the penguins, never ever estimate it. They peck when they need to and bite when they have to, like grabbing prey or swallowing it.

Pecking is like hitting something through a pointed tip while biting involves catching or grabbing through the mouth.

Penguins have strong and long beak that has the capability of both. However, the beak varies in different types of penguins according to their eating requirements.

Penguins live far north in chilly areas, so not being disturbed by human colonies. To them, humans are a sight of curiosity to which they might approach. However, they still have no intention to attack or kill them.

On the whole, they don’t plan to attack humans, but still, a wild animal is a threat. If they attack, they can peck with beaks, hit by flippers and scratch with claws. The hook on some species of penguins’ beaks can break the skin of humans, causing serious damage. So watch out!

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Do Emperor Penguins Bite?

Emperor penguins are deep-water fish hunters and all their predators are aquatic. Hence, they are not a threat to humans as interaction chances are less.

Penguin bill

So they can be curious to see the humans approaching, but they seldom think of attacking them. They are super-friendly.

Mild is another adjective that best describes them. It is only when their chicks are in danger that they show aggression.

a) African penguins

Aimee Greenebuam who is an Aviculture Curator says that they are wild and that wild birds don’t even like hand-feeding by humans.

African penguins have instances of pecking and hitting each other with flippers during aggression. They stand with pointed bills and erect crests to fight, but they don’t bite.

b) Macaroni penguins

Another crested penguin having the same behavior is the macaroni penguin. Macaroni penguins are generally naive and only peck and hit when their young are in danger.

What Happens If a Penguin Bites You?

Being bitten by a penguin is like being bitten by any other bird, as in a pet parrot. Of course, the force psi varies a lot as penguins are big birds.

Though toothless, their bills are hard and sharp, with sometimes a hook at the far end. The hook can break or pierce through the skin. The injury depends on how exposed you are to the attack. Anyways, the injuries are not fatal.

Do Penguins Like to Be Petted or Hugged?

Penguins are friendly and never think of humans as enemies. Think of an Antarctic penguin and you will never find them as a danger and an enemy.

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Are Emperor Penguins Aggressive or Dangerous?

No, they aren’t. Let us not forget the natural habitat of the emperor penguins, which drives them away from human activities and reduces the chances of an encounter.

Penguin bill

They even don’t fight much among themselves as they possess a docile and mild attitude in general. The only instances of emperor penguins being under a row are to save themselves or their young ones from predators.

Emperor penguins are super-friendly, curious and rather confused against human behavior than attacking.


What is the penguin bite force in PSI?

You measure the force exerted by penguin bite in g wt. The bite force of a penguin is 400 g wt at the bill tip. Both upper and lower mandibles are involved in biting against each other. Here the formula is F=400(106197). F stands for newton force.

Has a penguin ever killed a human?

Not really has this happened. Penguins are not a bird that is tagged as a threat to human life. But as they peck or bite you if you disturb their comfort zone, you can really face trouble by hurting yourself.

Do penguins kill each other?      

There is no denial of the fact that they do attack and harm each other, which sometimes results in the death of a penguin. Adelie penguins have been involved in territorial fights, while fights during mating seasons are also examples of penguins’ aggression.


Penguins, in general, are not dangerous to humans nor are they aggressive to one another. They are one of the fluffiest and cutest flightless birds. But they have strong and sharp beaks to peck and bite.

They use this feature for survival purposes. Thus, you cannot tag them as dangerous rather call them defensive and protective of their young.

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