This is not the penguin responsible. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) (Kin Cheung/AP)

The Associated Press reports that on a visit to the St. Louis Zoo, Newt Gingrich was bitten by a penguin: “During his visit to the popular zoo in Forest Park, he was treated to a behind-the-scenes visit with two Magellanic penguins. One of them nipped Gingrich on the finger.”

Gingrich was apparently unharmed, requiring no more than a small Band-Aid. Andrew Lieffring, a Facebook commenter on the Politico story quipped, “The liberal bias of penguins is well documented. They are always wearing tuxedos like hollywood elites.”

We are all relieved to know that no permanent damage befell Newt.

But what about the penguin? There is nothing you can take to inoculate you against accidentally ingesting a chunk of Newt. Most recipes that require bits of Newt are deadly potions that result in the delusion that you will be the next King of Scotland, until Birnam Wood starts marching from place to place.

Clearly, the penguin was in danger.

Desperate to see how things were going, I hopped on a flight to St. Louis. When I got to the penguin enclosure, it was clear that the worst had happened.

One female penguin was crying in a corner of the tank. She explained to me, using signs, that her life mate had just deserted her for a considerably younger female.

“Where is he now?” I asked.

She pointed a languid flipper towards the opposite end of the tank, where a plump penguin in an ill-fitting suit was beaming and repeating the words, “Fundamentally” and “moonbase” to a small crowd of listeners.

He seemed delighted that the media had just shown up, although he vocally expressed his disapproval.

Zookeepers seemed bewildered. “He seemed fine at first,” one confided, “but then he leaped out of bed, said that he had dozens of grandiose ideas that the world needed to hear, and I haven’t been able to keep track of him. Also he’s several million dollars in debt, which is a challenging feat for a penguin to pull off.” He frowned. “Mainly Tiffany’s.”