Penguin Symbolism and Meaning (Totem, Spirit and Omens)

Penguin Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

Known for the waddling gait, cute and cuddly appearance, and inability to fly despite being a bird, the Penguins are one of the world’s most adorable birds. They give out a warm and fuzzy vibe to people, which is why their faces are familiar on wall frames and planners. However, have these birds been visiting in your dreams lately? What could it mean?

Penguins are the symbol of loyalty, devotion, unity, parental love, elegance, sociability, and adaptability. These birds are firm believers of unity and stick to each other through thick and thin. They have a warm, friendly, and charming personality and are liked by everyone. They teach us a lesson of dedication towards one’s family and adaptability to thrive even in the most unfavorable conditions.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the symbolism of these birds and what does it mean to see them in your dreams.

Moreover, you’ll get to know their cultural significance, what it means to get penguin tattooed on your skin and the importance of their totem and spirit animal.


What do Penguins symbolize?

What do Penguins symbolize

Being flightless and living in the snow, Penguins are very different from the regular birds we are used to seeing around us. These birds do not share their home with humans, a fact that makes them all the more exotic to us. There are many things that we, humans can learn from these birds.

Following are some of their common symbols:

Adaptability and survival

The symbolism of adaptability has a lot to do with the physical traits of Penguins. First, the coloration technique of their skin is known as “countershading”, a form of camouflage that protects them from their predators.

Their heads are black, while their underparts are stark white. It means that when a flying predator will look down while hunting, their black colored head will blend in with dark waters, making them difficult to spot. However, when an aquatic predator looks at them from beyond the water, the source of light over their head makes their white body hard to distinguish. This is how penguins survive in the midst of cruel predators all around.

Moreover, since these birds have wings that they cannot use to fly, they have adapted to use them in swimming instead. They also have a thick skin with fat deposited under it, and water-resistant feathers to make them survive the harsh climate of their habitat.

Although they are cute little birds that can’t do much, the fact that they have survived for hundreds of years in such a brutal environment is proof of their adaptability and survival skills. And they symbolize the same to us.

Faithfulness and devotion

The concept of monogamy is not very popular among animals and birds, and the Penguins are one of the few that take it very seriously. These birds believe in the idea of one true soulmate. They propose to their partners by giving them a pebble, a sign that they have decided to spend their whole life together.

These birds are not only monogamous but also make gentle, kind, and loving partners. They build a family with their partners and spend forever devoted to one another. Such devotion is rare even in humans, which says a lot about their symbolism of faithfulness and devotion.


The Penguins strongly represent the concept of parenthood. Just as these birds are loyal lovers and partners, they are equally devoted parents, a rare trait among the birds.

Like most of the other birds that forget about their eggs as soon as they have laid them (like the cuckoos), the Penguins are deeply concerned about the safe upbringing of their babies.

They guard their eggs with their life, and when it hatches, and their younger ones arrive, they keep them pressed to their body to protect them from the harsh climate. Until the baby is grown enough to take care of itself, the parent couple does not leave its side.

Such parental love sets an example for us all. Moreover, an awfully adorable baby penguin standing next to its parents draws a beautiful picture in our heads, establishing a concrete idea of what parenthood should be like.


Penguins have a remarkable appearance that exudes elegance to humans. These birds follow a strict dress code of black and white, also referred to as the “Tuxedo appearance”.

The most striking appearance among them can be seen in the emperor Penguins; with their black matching the color of ebony contrasted by the snow-white underparts. To us, they look well-dressed enough to attend a highly formal party or an Oprah.

Friendliness and sociability

Have you ever seen a Penguin by itself? It is highly unlikely. These birds are highly social, doing everything together, be it swimming, traveling, or any other chore. They’re considered to be one of the most social birds on Earth, always seen huddled together in large colonies.

These colonies function on the grounds of friendliness and mutual cooperation. Penguins are not afraid of humans either. However, they do approach them at a distance and might get nervous or upset if you try to come too close.

Although Penguins do not have an evolved brain like ours, for them to live peacefully in such a large colony is a feat in itself. To us, they symbolize friendship, unity, and openness in personality.


What does it mean to see a Penguin in your dreams?

Penguin in your dream

Unlike cats and dogs that we see around ourselves on a daily basis, or even lions, cheetahs, monkeys, and hippos that we visit in the zoological parks, Penguins are not birds that we can come across. These birds live far away from human settlement. Most of us might not have seen them even once in our lives.

Dreaming about a Penguin is, thus, highly unlikely. However, if you saw one in your dream, it could be an indication that all things in your life are soon about to fall into their rightful place. Seeing them in your dreams is a sign that right now is the best time for you to explore new possibilities and endeavors in your life.

Moreover, the exact symbol of penguin that has appeared in your dream can have a unique interpretation:

A Penguin in the water

If in your dream, you witness a Penguin in water, it signifies adaptation. If you’re about to take on a new challenge in your life but are afraid about whether or not you’ll be able to see it through, now is the time to act. Your dream is a harbinger of good news, telling you that you will succeed.

A dead Penguin

On the contrary, seeing a dead Penguin in your dream can have a negative message for you. A dead Penguin is indicative of the obstacles you are about to face in your life, the obstacles that are hard to overcome. In order to get rid of them, you might have to make some permanent changes in your life, some of which you might not like.

A penguin crossing your path

If you encounter a Penguin passing you by in your dream, we have good news for you. Penguins crossing your path is indicative of a new, grand opportunity arriving in your life. It could probably be just the opportunity you were waiting for. Now is the time for you to seize it and climb higher on the ladder to success.

A Penguin talking to you

These are some of the rarest dreams you could have, considering the fact that Penguins cannot talk to humans in reality. However, if it does happen to come to you, it is an indication that you are soon going to hear good news from someone close to you, someone you have been worried about for quite some time now. The dream could also mean good news related to your job. Be it personal or professional, luck will be on your side.


The significance of Penguins in different cultures

Spiritual Meaning of Penguin

Although there has been little association of Penguins in any ancient culture of the world, they have been talked about in the myths of the Maori of New Zealand.

In the Maori mythology, three different species of Penguins have been mentioned: The Yellow-eyed Penguins (Megadyptes antipodes) as “Hoiho”, the Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) as “Tawaki”, and the Fiordland Penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) as “Korora”.

One particular myth talks about Tawaki (the Little Penguins), in which they walked unidentified among humans until their divinity was revealed by the lightning on their crest.


What does it mean to get a Penguin tattoo?

Penguin tattoo meaning

Penguins are adorable little creatures that would look great if tattooed on our bodies. But is there a deeper meaning of getting a Penguin tattoo?

The need to be different

In the kingdom of birds, what sets Penguins apart from the rest of the birds? You’re right; it is their inability to fly that makes them unique. In this context, getting a Penguin tattoo symbolizes a person’s uniqueness, of how they stand out in the crowd. It represents the desire to break free of the shackles set by society, to attain the freedom to be whoever you want to be.

Protection and community

Just like wolves, the Penguins strongly believe in the values of unity as well. It is the basic pillar of their lifestyle. Therefore, Penguin tattoos can also suggest harmony between people, a sense of togetherness, and belonging that feels like home.

Penguin totem

Although most people do not have an idea about it, the penguins have incredible communication skills. These skills help them stick together and cooperate for the smooth functioning of their large colonies.

These animals are amazing conversationalists and can talk their way out of anything. As a spirit totem, the penguins deliver to us the skills of sociability.

Moreover, they are adaptive and resourceful and know exactly how to thrive in any circumstances. They teach you that to achieve your goals, you have to be both focused and flexible since there is no growth for the rigid. The ability to bend with the flow of water is what will take you the farthest.

Penguin spirit animal

Having Penguin as your spirit animal says a lot about your personality. It means that you have an indomitable spirit and can get through even the toughest times of your life. You have what it takes to build an extraordinary life, and with the right guidance, you can take your life to unimaginable heights.

Like Penguins, you also have a highly likable personality and win people over easily with your effortless charm. You’re both funny and smart, and that, combined with the peaceful state of your mind, makes you an irresistible person. You make friends wherever you go, a trait that comes in handy in work or business.

With the survival instinct and adaptable nature of the Penguins, you are unafraid of change and can, therefore, grow in any environment.

Another important quality that the Penguin spirit lends you is unity and sociability. You don’t tend to put yourself before others and believe in the concept of a harmonious environment where everyone is happy. You don’t shy away from hard work and are capable of maintaining a calm and happy temperament both in your workplace as well as your neighborhood.

Talking about your personal life, you are both gentle and fierce. Your family and loved ones mean everything to you, and for them, you are willing to go to any lengths. However, with your family, you are always kind and loving.

You are a faithful lover and partner, looking for someone with whom you can build a life. You take your relationships seriously and are not interested in fooling around.

Just like your spirit animals, you draw pleasure in the company of the people you love, are dedicated to loving and protecting them, and aim to lead a happy, satisfying life.


When should you call on your Penguin spirit animal?

Penguin spirit animal

If you have Penguins as your spirit animal, they will always provide you with a fresh perspective on every circumstance. You can call upon them to guide you when:

1. You have been working too hard for too long. All work and no play can make your life dull and lifeless. If you think it is time for you to take a break from the mundane and indulge in things that please you, your spirit animal will help you with it.

2. You have a huge opportunity in front of you but do not have enough confidence. You’re unsure whether you have it in you or not and require courage to make the right decision.

3. You are going through a rough patch in your close relationships. With the difficulties that life throws your way, it often becomes a challenge to put effort into your personal relationships. However, your loved ones shouldn’t have to suffer for it.


Facts about Penguin symbolism

Penguin Symbolism

Just when you thought you knew everything about the symbolism of Penguins, they manage to surprise you. Following are some of the uncommon symbolism that might be difficult to associate with the Penguins at first but will make sense once we explain them to you:

The concept of renewal

Who knew Penguins could be associated with the symbol of renewal? Well, why not? After all, like the other birds, they molt, too. And the process of molting is one of the classic examples of renewal.

In our life, it symbolizes the concept of change, of giving up the fear and anxiety of your past in order to begin afresh. Change is the rule of the universe, and if you’re afraid to follow it, you might never grow in the true sense.

The Penguin spirit animal will always push you to let go of the past, embrace the present, and surrender yourself to the glorious future that awaits you.

Following the rules

Do the carefree Penguins follow any rules at all? It might come as a surprise to many, but for the large Penguin colonies to function smoothly and effectively, each of them must do their bit and stick to a general code of conduct. Without rules, their community would fall to pieces, like every other community we have learned about in history.


Penguin symbolism and meaning (bottom line)

In the end, the main symbols that you can associate with Penguins are those of loyalty and devotion, unity and communal harmony, adaptability and survival skills, grace, and elegance. These birds are harbingers of joy and stability in your life.

To see them in your dreams is always a good sign unless you encounter a dead one. In the mythical stories, Penguins have been portrayed as divine creatures.

To get their tattoo reflects a strong urge to be unique; meanwhile, it also represents the belief in family values. If you have them as your spirit animals, they will always urge you to lead your life with grace.