The year 2017 has been full of crazy moments — and not just in Washington, D.C., but in the animal kingdom. Animals can always be counted on to do something unexpected, sometimes so entertaining we rush to share it on social media. Here are a few of the more viral animal sensations of 2017.
5. Giant Alligator Lumbers Along a Golf Course
Alligators are as much a part of life on Southeastern U.S. golf courses as sand traps. Every year seems to bring a sighting of an enormous gator strolling a fairway. This 12-foot gator captured everyone’s attention as it lumbered down the 4th fairway of Ocean Point Golf Links at Fripp Island in South Carolina.
4. Men Try to Save Whale … And Find a Great White
When Dale Peterson saw a large sea creature beached in shallow water near his home in Baja California, he assumed it was a whale or hammerhead shark. As a companion waded toward the beached creature, he instead discovered it was a great white shark. The two men responded probably the way you would upon making such a discovery: “Holy s— … that’s a F—— white shark!” The original, raw-language version of this scene has more than 7 million views on YouTube.
3. Squirrel Runs Loose on Field, Announcer Goes Crazy
TOUCHDOWN SQUIRREL pic.twitter.com/VcgAtpQjKx
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 23, 2017
It’s not unusual for wildlife, from cats to squirrels to birds, to get loose in sports stadiums. They’re always a momentary and amusing diversion. Hats off to the broadcasters at the Kent State-Louisville football game for having fun as a squirrel scored a “touchdown” during their game.
2. Baby Hippo Becomes Viral Sensation
On Jan. 24, a baby hippo born two months early at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens made headlines around the world. Baby Fiona not only survived, but thrived as the center of media attention, with millions of fans on social media and a book deal. The zoo covered Fiona’s milestones (first steps, first swim with parents, etc.) the way a proud parent might brag about their toddler.
1. Fan Throws Catfish on Ice at Stanley Cup Finals
Hockey has some bizarre traditions. Witness Nashville Predators fans’ practice of hurling catfish on the playing surface at games. So when the Predators traveled to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, Pittsburgh merchants took precautions to make sure no Nashville fans bought any catfish locally. Markets and stores checked IDs and basically clamped down on catfish sales. And of course security workers weren’t about to let opposing fans carry catfish into the Penguins’ arena.
Yet Predators fan Jake Waddell somehow smuggled in a catfish and hurled it on the Penguins’ home ice (earning an ejection and a charge of three misdemeanors). Waddell went to ridiculous lengths to perform the stunt. Calling himself a “dumb redneck with a bad idea” Waddell told Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone he bought the catfish in Nashville. Then he sprayed it with cologne to lessen the smell for the trip to Pittsburgh. Next, he fileted the fish, ran over it with his truck to flatten it, then vacuum packed it. Then he stuck it in his compression shorts and snuck it into the arena, creating a bizarre Stanley Cup Finals memory.
One More: Deer Fight Captured by Wildlife Camera
What do deer do in their spare time? A trail camera set up by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency caught these two bucks fighting on their hind legs. Wildlife officers Amy and Bubba Spencer think the bucks were “working out their issues over a small food plot.”
(Fiona the hippo photo credit: Jenna Wingate/Cincinnati Zoo)