Simon Cowell: I Want a Pet Penguin!

Simon Cowell Gary Miller/WireImage

Simon Cowell is a big fan of flippers — and we're not talking about beach gear.

"The X Factor" judge, who is known for being a bit of a curmudgeon, is apparently likes penguins so much that he said he would love to have one of the flightless birds to call his own.

"Watching Mr. Poppers Penguins again," the 52-year-old tweeted this week. "I love this film. I really do want a pet penguin."

The 2011 film, based on a children's book of the same name, stars Jim Carrey as a divorced real estate entrepreneur who is bequeathed a gentoo penguin named Captain in his late father's will. But when he tries to send back the penguin, due to a mix up, five more arrive. Suddenly he's sharing his New York City apartment — which doesn't allow pets — with a bunch of birds!

Of course, if Cowell really wanted a penguin — and we're sure he has the cash to afford one —  he'd have to purchase an entire zoo as it's not legal to keep a penguin as a domesticated pet in the United States. Plus, while they can be affectionate, in general they aren't. "They're kind of ornery," Dyan deNapoli, aka "The Penguin Lady," told last year.

Although Cowell can be a little rough and gruff on "The X Factor," he's actually a huge animal lover. He's created a TV show about pooches — a British reality TV competition series called "That Dog Can Dance," which searches for exceptional canines — and has also teamed up with PETA on multiple projects, including a PSA reminding dog owners not to leave their pets in hot cars. In addition, he's worked with the "Animals Matter to Me" campaign for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), which educates the public about the damage done to wildlife by illegal trafficking.

So the next time you hear Cowell drop a zinger on "The X Factor," remember that he's actually a pussycat — at least when it comes to his love of animals.

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