Turns out, it's just an act.
According to Japanese researchers, penguins are actually finely tuned killing machines - as lethal in the water as they are awkward on land.
"You could say the penguins have an amazing stealth mode," Yuuki Watanabe, a researcher at Japan's National Institute of Polar Research, told the Reuters news agency. "They're great at sneaking up on their prey and taking them unaware."
Watanabe's team used "penguin cams" that turned on when the birds hit the water and tracked and recorded their every move for 90 minutes at a time - and what they found was a stunning example of nature at her deadliest. When the penguins targeted a krill or a fish, they literally never missed, striking with lightning speed and ruthless efficiency.
You can see some of the footage on the Web site of the Daily Mail - but just one warning: if you're a fish or a krill, this will be like watching a snuff film.
Watanabe is hoping to attach cameras to an somewhat deadlier creature next... sharks.
Good luck with that one.