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Defiant Ducks, Sassy Squirrels and More: The Top 5 Animal Pitch Invaders

Ryan BaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2013

Defiant Ducks, Sassy Squirrels and More: The Top 5 Animal Pitch Invaders

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    Football fans discovered what a pine marten looks like this week, as one of the weasel-like creatures made its way onto the field during a Swiss Super League match between Thun and Zurich, wreaking havoc before biting a player.

    In honor of this unwelcome but hilarious guest, here are B/R's top 5 animal pitch invaders...

The Galatasaray Puppies

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    The old adage of one man and his dog watching a game harks back to the good ol' days before all-seater stadiums, diving and Joey Barton's Twitter account were invented.

    However, man's best friend still occasionally finds its way onto the field of the beautiful game—and hilarity often ensues.

    This plucky Labrador found itself in an offside position during a Crystal Palace match at Selhurst Park in the '80s. This mutt was having the time of his life until the goalkeeper made an important save. And this excitable police dog in Brazil had to hand in his badge and his service weapon after stealing the match ball.

    Yet the hairy headliners are the brace of adorable Labrador puppies who interrupted a friendly bout between Galatasaray and German side VfR Aalen in January. This clip will surely put pressure on Sepp Blatter for FIFA-sanctioned puppy breaks in every professional match.

The Anfield Cat

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    Few animal pitch invaders have captured the hearts and minds of football fans around the globe quite like the Anfield Cat.

    During Tottenham's visit to Anfield last February, a stray tabby cat made its way onto the pitch in the 11th minute. Sharp-witted Liverpool fans immediately started a chant of "A cat! A cat! A cat!" as the muggy slowly made its exit.

    Since the Internet loves all things cat-related, the Liverpool feline became an overnight sensation. Within days, the Anfield Cat parody Twitter handle had 25,000 followers, and it has more than double that amount today.

    The Anfield Cat was preceded by The 2009 UEFA Cup Final Cat and followed by the CONCACAF Champions League Cat at Toronto FC's BMO Field.

The Belgian Pro League Duck

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    Belgium is known for many things: waffles, Kim Clijsters, chocolate, Jean Claude Van Damme and bored tourists, to name a few.

    In 2010, however, the Flemish nation heralded a new dawn in animal pitch invasions with the arrival of a duck that had strayed a little too far from its pond during the Belgian Pro League match between Zulte Waregem and Lokeren.

    Zulte striker Mahamadou Habib Habibou took charge of the situation by roughly picking up the bird and forcefully ejecting it form the field.

    The forward—who has clearly never enjoyed the simple pleasure of feeding an appreciative Mallard a piece of bread—was roundly booed by fans for his unnecessarily brutal treatment of the duck.

The Euro 2008 Owl

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    Owls are supposed to be solitary and nocturnal, but this one clearly didn't mind hanging out with several thousand people at a sporting venue during daylight hours.

    A Euro 2008 qualifier between Finland and Belgium at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in 2007 was going swimmingly until this winged prankster decided to interrupt proceedings.

    After landing on the field, it proceeded to perch on the crossbar for several minutes before eventually flying off to bother a cameraman for a while.

    Owl-based trolling doesn't get much better than this.

The Women's Professional Soccer League Squirrel

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    Dolphins and monkeys are usually game for a laugh, but the title of "nature's clown" really belongs to the squirrel. Even the name is funny if you say it enough times.

    This Women's Professional Soccer League tie between Western the New York Flash and Philadelphia Independence was interrupted by this nut lover, who entertained the masses by spinning in circles like a bushy-tailed court jester before being escorted from the field under the auspices of a large cardboard box.

    A grey squirrel also hit headlines in 2007 when it invaded the field during a Champions League bout between Arsenal and Villarreal.

    Yet neither could compete with the athletic prowess shown by this Ohio native that sprinted 100 yards like a pro punt returner in an NFL game between the Browns and the Ravens.

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