The Difference Between Penguins and Lions

I put forth a challenge at the first of August (2014), asking you to submit your story titles and I would in turn write five hundred words or more just from the title. One of my personal tricks to keep the writers block at bay is to come up with just a title. I keep an ongoing list of titles to spark the creative juices. As promised I will use one each week to pen a new story. The list of titles is listed below. Thanks for all your input. While I can’t write to all of these, I do hope that you get to see yours in print.

The Blue Truck Across the Street – While Waiting

The Difference Between Penguins and Lions

Talking Heads – Floating Heads – If God Is In Front of Us – My Lullaby Was Rhiannon

At the Crossroad – You’re Not Going to Believe This

When I Thought It Was Over, the Adventure Had Just Started – Finding Dead End Roads

Secrets in Every Man’s Life – 21 Year Journey


The Difference Between Penguins and Lions
Submitted by Paul Jarvis –

Would you rather be the Penguin or the Lion?

When I asked for title submissions that I could use to write a story I hadn’t imagined all the peculiar possibilities I might encounter. The Difference Between Penguins and Lions came across as quite an interesting idea. As a matter of fact I’ve contemplated this title, this topic far more than others that were suggested and possibly to the point of obsession. Crazy huh?

It just got me thinking; what is the difference between Penguins and Lions? Come on! Isn’t it quite obvious the extreme variations in these two creatures? Huge difference here. It seemed too simple on the surface. One is a bird, the other is a cat. (Not a good mix on any level I’m sure.) One likes cold climates, the other prefers the African heat. One eats almost purely fish and the other, well, Lions prefer much larger prey; though I’m sure being carnivores a fish on a plate might be a nice change of pace.


Upon further consideration I realized I wasn’t dealing with two animals that happen to be at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of habitat, hunting abilities or physical characteristics. I realized that we are actually talking about people here.

What really is different about Penguins and Lions is how they relate to one another. In the wild male lions have very lose relationships with their female counterparts. The male lion is the leader of a pride of females and their cubs. To become that leader he has to battle the reigning male for that pride. Winner take all. They seldom do the hunting and they tend to take whatever they want; even to the point of allowing the females and cubs to starve. They will also eat the cubs in tough times. While I tend to admire cats of all sorts, this kind of behavior makes lions less attractive.

Penguins are not territorial but rather very social. They are exceptionally family oriented, supportive of each other and the group. True, a pride of lions work together to hunt for food, (usually while the males lay back and watch) they babysit for one another and share most everything. Even their men. Male lions will mate up to twenty-five times a day. Woe!

Most species of Penguins mate for life. They have a sense of loyalty that is a rare trait in almost all other creatures. Male penguins assist in nest building and child raising. Penguin parents work together as a team and most of their efforts are in support of their young.

Another interesting characteristic of lions is that fifty percent of their diet, or more depending on availability, is scavenged. They often stalk the hunt of other animals and then take their catch by force. The male eats first and the females and cubs pick the bones of his leftovers. Penguins on the other hand hunt purely for themselves, male and female, and primarily for the benefit of their young. They will at times go without nourishment of their own in order to feed their offspring.

Again, I can’t help but translate these two different animals into the characteristics of humans. Here we are, a single species, yet various people tend to act in similar ways to these two animals. Some people are rather arrogant and self-serving, taking for themselves whatever it is they want, seemingly connected to their family but selfish and independent nonetheless. On the other hand some people are dedicated to family, they are loyal, dependable, monogamous and steadfast.

Interestingly enough, before you started reading this I asked you to consider which of these creatures you might choose to be. Have you changed your mind?


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