WARSAW, Poland — With a pig in Kiev, an elephant in Krakow and now, believe it or not, a ferret in Kharkiv, sports prognosticating has truly gone wild.
Two years after Paul the Octopus earned fame by correctly predicting eight matches at the World Cup in South Africa, several pretenders to the throne have cropped up in Poland and Ukraine, the co-hosts for the European Championship.
But they still have a lot to prove.
"As far as we are concerned, none have the form of Paul the Octopus," said Joe Crilly, a spokesman for British bookmaker William Hill. "And with so many to follow, there are undoubtedly going to be a few who get it wrong."
Paul the Octopus, who died a few months after the 2010 World Cup, lived at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany. He correctly predicted the outcome of all seven of Germany's matches at the tournament in South Africa, as well as Spain's win over the Netherlands in the final, by plucking a mussel out of a plastic box bearing a national flag.
Fame and, one can assume, a fortune of mussels followed.
But for Euro 2012, there's no shortage of successors with animal instincts.
Citta the elephant, a temperamental 33-year-old female pachyderm from India, lives at a zoo in Krakow. She was chosen over a donkey, a parrot and another elephant after she correctly predicted that Chelsea would win the Champions League title.
On Wednesday, she predicted that co-host Poland would beat Greece in the opening Euro 2012 match by choosing a melon marked Poland. She had a choice of others marked for Greece or for a draw.
In Kiev, a beer-loving pig named Khryak will chance Friday to make his first prediction only hours before the tournament kicks off in Warsaw at the National Stadium.
Fred the ferret is the newest kid on the block, but the professionals will be looking at all the all-seeing animals to see which one does the best.
"We will be keeping our eyes and ears open for any hint of a clairvoyant cat or telepathic trout," Crilly said.
- Mired in 3-game losing streak, BYU preparing...
- Sunday morning quarterback: Stars and stats...
- Dick Harmon: BYU amasses yards but flutters...
- Already impressing: Utah Jazz rookie Dante...
- Amy Donaldson: Not deciding on a starting...
- College football: Utah rises to No. 19 in AP,...
- Nevada rallies to beat BYU, 42-35
- Utes continue Pac-12 'meat grinder' with...
- Utes top Oregon State in double overtime 114
- Nevada rallies to beat BYU, 42-35 68
- Dick Harmon: BYU amasses yards but... 47
- Mired in 3-game losing streak, BYU... 34
- FBS football coaches vote BYU most... 32
- Peavler: Penalties out of control at BYU 28
- Brad Rock: Utes have their star in... 27
- Dick Harmon: BYU's defense could use... 24