TWO men who drank a litre and a half of vodka before they swam with the dolphins at Sea World and stole the resident penguin have had their situation compared to comedy movie The Hangover.

Wales nationals Keri Mules and Rhys Owen Jones pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court this morning to trespass, stealing and unlawfully keep an animal under the Nature Conservation Act.

Defence lawyer Bill Potts said the pair had been at a beach party at The Spit on April 14 before they decided to "swim with the dolphins" at Sea World.

"Thank god they did not go into the shark or polar bear enclosure," he said.

Jones and Mules scooped up the penguin on the way out and went back to their Southport unit where they fell asleep.

Mr Potts said they woke up in a situation where life had imitated art.

The high profile Gold Coast criminal lawyer compared the situation to comedy movie The Hangover, where a wild night in Las Vegas lead four friends to wake up in their hotel room with a tiger they don't remember acquiring.

Unfortunately, Magistrate Brian Kucks was not familiar with the movie.

Police received reports of the men posing in photos with the little blue penguin on Facebook, which prompted them to contact Sea World.

Sea World then noticed their penguin, Dirk, was missing.

Prosecutor Sergeant Greg Overton said police went to an address in Southport where Jones and Mules were staying.

The men led police to the Broadwater where they had released the penguin.

On the afternoon of April 15, a member of the public found Dirk and he was returned to Sea World.

Mr Potts said Mules and Jones were on working visas in Australia and had been evicted from their apartment since the incident.

He said his clients were deeply remorseful and realised their stupidity.

Magistrate Kucks said there could have been other places the defendants could have swum in that would not have left them standing in front of him.

The pair were fined $1000 each.

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