Here at Gypsy Wood Park, we love all creatures great and small! Our animals are at the heart of our park and we wouldn't be without them.
So, with the London 2012 Olympics drawing ever closer, we thought we'd celebrate our animal adoration with some Alternative Animal Olympics - the wackiest animal races you've ever heard of! Many animal sports are controversial because they are often deemed cruel or inhumane, but our favourites are all bonkers without being barbaric!
Tell us your favourite (cruelty free) animal sport - leave a comment in the box below.
- Pig Olympics - wow! A whole Olympic games dedicated to cute little piggies! Competitions include piggy-swimming, piggy-football and pig-racing over an obstacle course. The last Pig Olympics were held in 2009 in St Louis, Missouri, and the contest is run by the Sport-Pig Federation, who promise that none of the piggy competitors are bacon afterwards - they're all bred for the next generation of sporting piggy Olympians.
image by jannbr on scx.hu
- Rabbit Showjumping - possibly the cutest animal sport ever invented! Specially trained bunny rabbits jump over a variety of obstacles and fences. The sport first became popular in Sweden in the 1970s, but there are now competitions all over the world.
image by sv:User:Wikkie on wiki commons
- Ferret Legging - this competition's open only to men who think they're tough enough! The idea is to put a ferret in their trousers (belted at the top and tied at the ankles) and the one who can stand the jiggling and wiggling the longest is the winner! (PS rules state that no underwear is to be worn.....)
Image by goomomyuko on sxc.hu
- Elephant Polo - a variation on the classic game of Polo, where riders use elephants instead of horses to move around the polo field. It's popular in the Asian countries of Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
image by doc on sxc.hu
- Pigeon Racing - one of the more well known wacky animal races, but no less remarkable. Pigeons are released thousands of miles away from their home, and the clever bird who gets back the quickest wins the race. These ingenious birds are meticulously trained by their owners to brave storms and predators, and navigate their way back home. Pigeons have a natural homing instinct, but scientists still aren't sure exactly why....
Image by Jarrr on sxc.hu
- Snail racing - the classic wacky animal race! Snail racing is popular across the world and usually features the common garden species of snail. The snail who gets around a marked track the quickest is the winner! Best not to be in a hurry for this one - all good things come to those who wait.....
image by minotaurus on sxc.hu