Paul the Octopus wasn’t the first, but he was probably the best.
And the exposure given to the late German mollusc, who returned a 100% prediction record at the last football World Cup, spurned many copycats.
Or, in the case of the rugby World Cup in New Zealand, copy farm animals, with the prophet sheep, Sonny Wool, up against Richie McCow, the psychic calf.
But it’s turned into something of a zoo at the European Football Championships. In the words of the German weekly Der Spiegel, it is “Euro 2012 Oracle Inflation”.
The vying animal forecasters include “Nelly the elephant, Xavier the bulldog, Emma the pig, Mörmel the otter, Traudl the goat, Axel the axolotl and the Baltic Sea seagulls living on the island of Usedom”.
And that’s just in Germany. “There are also rabbits in Switzerland, a gigantic hog in Ukraine and another elephant in Poland.”