From a prophetic pig to a clairvoyant cat, these are the animals that have been unwittingly called on to make predictions about the outcome of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
In 2010, an octopus by the name of Paul correctly predicted the outcome of all of Germany’s matches, including its semifinal loss to Spain. While the tentacled tipster has since passed, there are other animals that have caught the attention of football fans – perhaps more for their novelty, rather than the accuracy of the outcome.
Achilles the cat
A cat that lives in the basement of the famous St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum accurately predicted that Russia would win its opening match against Saudi Arabia.
Achilles was presented with two bowls, decorated with the flags of Russia and Saudi Arabia, and chose to eat from the Russian dish.
The cat’s minders told AFP because he is deaf, he does not get distracted by onlookers.
“He sees with his heart,” Achilles’ vet Anna Kastkina said.
Mystic Marcus the pig
The owner of Mystic Marcus believes her eight-year-old pig has “special powers” – he predicted the outcome of both Brexit and Donald Trump’s election as US President.
Presented with 32 apples adorned with flags of each of the World Cup nations, Marcus ate all but four – leaving Belgium, Argentina, Nigeria and Uruguay as his semi-final picks.
While Marcus has been accurate in the past with his predictions, football fans would know the pig may have missed the mark this year – it’s not possible for all four of those teams to progress to the quarter-finals.
Datou the dog
An 11-year-old Maltese Terrier in a shark costume has chosen his World Cup favourite – Iceland.
Presented with treats laid out on each of the flags of World Cup the former stray from Hong Kong foresaw a victory for this year’s tournament underdogs.
Valentina and Nene the lions
Two lions from the Santa Fee Zoo in Medellin, Colombia were presented with two boxes in the colours of the Japanese and Colombian flags.
The lions have apparently backed their home country, and picked the Colombian box first.
Zella the elephant
Elephants are said to be among the world’s most intelligent animals – but being tasked with predicting the World Cup outcome is a difficult ask for anybody.
Zella the elephant, who lives in the Stuttgart zoo, made her ‘predictions’ by picking balls out of a basket, using her trunk.
According to the zoo director, Zella has predicted an early exit for Germany – and an overall victory for Senegal.