It started with Paul, an ordinary octopus from Weymouth who garnered worldwide attention after spending the summer of 2010 correctly predicting the results of Germany's eight World Cup matches.
Inspired by Paul's success, animals across Germany, from elephants to pythons, are now working the pundits' circuit and forecasting the results of Euro 2012.
But Germany's animal rights activists have called on pet owners to think twice before parading their animals as sporting forecasters, saying the national phenomenon – which is now spreading around the world – is spiralling out of control.
Germany’s animal welfare association TSB says many animals are being exploited, forced to do things that are unnatural to them, and suffering as a result of what it calls a “craze”.
It cited an internet radio station that filmed a python called Ado being offered the choice of two live rats, one representing Germany and another representing Portu-gal.
The snake ate the rat representing Portugal meaning, according to the radio station, that Portugal would win the championship. Desp-ite the fact that the python's prediction was obviously wrong, and no animal coming close to matching Paul's accuracy, the number of animals now employed as football psychics is on the rise.
Marius Tünte of the TSB said: "In many cases the dignity of the animals is being completely ignored. They're being forced to do things that are totally unnatural to them and in some cases are causing them to suffer."