Using animals as oracles seems to be turning into a World Cup tradition. Four years ago, Germany had Paul the octopus, who started the clairvoyant animal craze during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Paul not only became a national celebrity in Germany, but he also developed a cult-like following, catching the world’s attention, after successfully predicting the results of every match Germany played in the last World Cup. He died of natural causes in October 2010, several months after correctly predicting Spain’s victory against the Netherlands in the final match.
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Paul’s popularity has only risen over these past few years. In fact, Google has chosen to honour him by making him the subject of one of their daily football doodles; the doodle depicts Paul still predicting game results from heaven.
With the coming of this year’s World Cup, came a number of animal oracle imitations all around the world.
Big Head the turtle predicts Mexico will beat Brazil on the 17th June.
This year, host country Brazil has selected a 25-year-old sea turtle as its animal oracle. At Praia do Forte turtle sanctuary, Big Head makes his predictions by choosing to eat a fish hung from one out of the two competing nation’s flags.
Chinese media has reported that their country has invited a “crack team” of baby pandas living at a giant panda conservation centre in Sichuan province to predict this year’s World Cup results.
If these pandas are used to divine match outcomes, they will most likely make their predictions by climbing a tree flying a competing team’s flag or by picking up flag-marked food from bamboo baskets.
Flopsy the kangaroo
Bindi Irwin, the lively daughter of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, excitedly told the world about Flopsy, who was recently nicknamed as Predicataroo on her Twitter account, last week.
This adorable marsupial will be making game predictions throughout the rest of the World Cup by hopping to and eating out of one out of two bowls, each marked with a different team card.
Madame Shiva the guinea pig
Switzerland has tasked a 20-month-old guinea pig with prophesying this year’s World Cup results. Madame Shiva is placed on a mini soccer field and predicts the winning team with droppings.
Nelly the elephant
Germany has selected an elephant living at Hanover’s Serengeti Park as their FIFA World Cup animal oracle. Nelly makes her predictions by kicking a soccer ball into one of two goals, each with a competing nation’s flag on it.
Nelly has a 30 for 33 record in successfully choosing the winners of the 2006 Women’s World Cup, the Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup.
Shaheen the camel
Sitting on desert sand, Shaheen, an Emirati camel who was discovered by Gulf News, makes his predictions by nodding towards, nuzzling or biting one out of the two wooden posts placed in front of him.
Both of these wooden posts are marked with the names and flags of the competing countries. Out of all of this year’s animal oracles, Shaheen is the only one who has a 100 percent accuracy record.
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Sources: Yahoo Sports, BBC, Daily Mail, International Business Times and South China Morning Post