It is a tragic day. Paul the psychic octopus, who wowed the world with his world cup predictions, is dead. No more will the exhausting rollercoaster of excitement, disappointment and ultimately boredom that is football be brightened by octopus punditry.
According to reports, two and a half years isn’t a bad innings for an octopus like Paul. But I’m worried that his exit will remove one of the best cephalopod role models we’ve had for a while. Grumpy Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants just isn’t as charming or as clever, and giant squid are a bit scary.
It’s becoming more widely recognised that cephalopods are up there with mammals as some of the top ‘sentient’ beings on the planet. So much so that they’re going to be protected under the new European Directive governing the use of animals in research. All cephalopods will count as animals that can feel pain and distress, and so will be protected from unnecessary research tests.
Octopuses are moving up in the world, and I think they need a new ambassador. Especially since Paul has gone to a better place (hopefully not a paella). But most famous octopuses or tentacled creatures that I can think of are evil – for example Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and Dr Octopus from Spider Man.
So who can step into Paul’s (eight) shoes? If only he’d picked a successor from one of two perspex boxes before he said goodbye to this cruel world! I’m hoping Paul’s aquarium might train up another clever cephalopod to entertain us and remind us just how lovely these creatures are, because the world is a sadder place without him.