Guilty Pleasures

Athletes with Random Wild Animals

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterAugust 2, 2014

Athletes with Random Wild Animals

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    Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images

    Social media apps like Instagram and Facebook are a gawker's paradise.

    We survived before the Twitter era, but there's no closing the Pandora's box of memes, awesome animals pics or any of the other superfluous excesses we suddenly can't live without.

    What exactly did the terminally curious do before countless photos of celebrities and athletes we love (or hate) became accessible in a few clicks?

    Luckily, we don't have to answer that question, because that smartphone will never stray far from our pocket, and athletes will continue to post pics that make us want to reach for it.

    Nothing underscores this fact like athletes on Instagram who publish photos of themselves posing with rare, exotic or just unusual animals. Let's face it: Being an athlete and having all that comes with it makes you 100 times more likely to be seen with a crocodile, someplace other than a zoo or national park...on purpose.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Instagram ID: cristiano

    Caption: Love this photo of when I was swimming with the dolphins in 2011 #tbt

    Is it just me, or is this the most likable soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has ever been? The dolphin sure doesn’t hurt, but the fact that he’s not carrying a purse and doesn’t look sticky for once is a major contributing factor as well. 

Chris Canty

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    Instagram ID: chriscanty99

    Caption: Didn't expect to pull this guy outta the water this a.m. Happy Independence Day!!! #seaturtle #fishinginthebackyard #islandlife

    Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty pulled an unexpected surprise out of the water while fishing on the Fourth of July. Let’s hope that baby sea turtle wasn’t too scarred by the experience. 

Dwight Howard

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    Instagram ID: dwighthoward

    Caption: Jus caught me one.

    Honestly, we're not sure if a dead fish counts as a “wild animal,” but we thought this photo of Houston Rockets big man Dwight Howard looking like he’s about to eat that poor thing straight off the line was worth including.  

Tony Hawk

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    Instagram ID: tonyhawk

    Caption: Back in the day (as in 5 days ago) when that Malaysian monkey jumped up & stole my chips. Photo: @_starlady_

    Recently, legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk learned firsthand why tourists are not supposed to feed the monkeys. It’s all fun and games till a monkey jumps up and steals your chips and sunglasses before slapping you in the face and running off. 

Tony Hawk

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    Instagram: tonyhawk

    Caption: Thanks to @boardworld for showing me around Sydney & documenting my python incident: https://vemeo.com/87206499

    Monkey business aside, it looks like Tony Hawk had a more jarring experience with this snake in Australia. 

Michael Phelps

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    Instagram ID: m_phelps00

    Caption: I caught a lobster

    Since there is no fishing gear or crustacean cages in sight, there is at least a chance that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps caught that lobster with his bare hands. That’s definitely the best of all the possible scenarios I’ve just tried to imagine. The worst is that he drunkenly bought that from a grocery store for a staged photo-op and then decided to set it free in a freshwater lake. 

Chris Bosh

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    Instagram ID: chrisbosh

    Caption: Chillin with my new friend

    Wow. So Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh is nearly as tall as your average elephant. He’s so tall and gangly that he throws off the scale of most photos. 

Chris Bosh

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    Instagram ID: chrisbosh

    Caption: Two young fellas on a caravan. I love seeing him smile like that… #boshfamilyworldtour

    Bosh and his family have been on a ridiculously amazing world tour for weeks now. Elephant friends and camel rides are the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the photos on Instagram are really worth a look. 

McKayla Maroney

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    Instagram ID: mckaylamaroney

    Caption: Soooo, I like snakes now..

    We all know American gymnast McKayla Maroney isn’t easily impressed. This snake impressed her. 

Pierre Thomas

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    Instagram ID: pierre_thomas

    Caption: Real talk though I was nervous.

    New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas may have been nervous holding that snake, but he powered through and actually looks oddly serene. Clearly he's less impressed by the whole situation than McKayla Maroney was. 

Jimmie Johnson

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    Instagram ID: jimmiejohnson

    Caption: I think I found a new family pet! #pricklebear @espn @nascarespn

    Jimmie Johnson has been my favorite NASCAR driver ever since his inexplicably adorable commercial with him and Pricklebear, a baby porcupine that he rescued and raised before sending it back off into the wild, aired in 2012. Maybe it wasn’t real, but it felt real to me. 

Jimmie Johnson

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    Instagram ID: jimmiejohnson

    Caption: I took a car load of kids to the Lazy 5 Ranch this weekend. #MustDo

    Recently, Johnson took his animal-feeding show on the road. What a jarring way for kids to find out a giraffe’s tongue is black—as it clumsily tries to rip a bowl of food from their hands. Awesome. 

Devon Still

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    Instagram ID: man_of_still75

    Caption: Tracy couldn’t keep her lips off me lol

    It’s going to be hard for Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still to pull off intimidation after seeing him smooching a dolphin. Totally worth it, though. 

Darnell Dockett

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    Instagram ID: dockett90

    Caption: Me and my lil homie skeeter .. He smart as s--t.. Gonna take him to king of diamonds with me… #imjustdifferent 

    Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett is known for collecting, or pretending to collect, angry-looking wild animals as pets. Although, his menacing possible menagerie probably doesn’t include little Skeeter, since bringing home monkeys from tropical locations is usually frowned upon by customs. 

Darnell Dockett

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    Instagram ID: dockett90

    Caption: Playing with my gator.. “Chuck”

    Skeeter likely avoided joining Dockett’s zoo, but Chuck’s status is unknown. It looks like he’s probably just joining an alligator farm, but maybe he decided Nino needed a friend during football season.

Caroline Wozniacki

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    Instagram ID: caroline_wozniacki

    Caption: Caro with her penguin friends!

    Earlier this year, Dutch tennis player Caroline Wozniacki visited Dubai and was lucky enough to hang out with some seriously adorable penguins. She looks understandably thrilled, but that penguin looks pretty desperate to get away. 

Adrian Clayborn

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    Instagram ID: ajacaly94

    Caption: Never ever ever again! I’m out! 

    It doesn’t look like Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn will be following in the footsteps of Dockett and ill-advisedly adopting an alligator. He looks pretty freaked out—although that little baby isn’t nearly as scary as some of the other reptiles he saw at wherever he was. 

Kelly Slater

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    Instagram ID: kellyslater

    Caption: Cruising #FloridaStyle with this guy. Raddest creature on earth. #Manatee #SeaCow #MotorBoatSpeedBumps 

    Starry-eyed surfer Kelly Slater runs into his share of marine life in his line of work, but you can’t blame him for being partial to the manatee—the most harmlessly adorable giant animal on Earth. 

A.J. Williams

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    Instagram ID: ajwilliams23

    Caption: Black Rhino at #TDS

    Buffalo Bills safety A.J. Williams recently visited somewhere that let him get up close and personal with a whole mess of wild animals. Among them were a black rhinoceros, adorable warthogs and a slightly less adorable baby alligator.

    But that’s not all...

A.J. Williams

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    Instagram ID: ajwilliams23

    Caption: Bout to get one of these

    Williams also made friends with a lemur. Let’s just hope he isn’t serious about getting one as a pet. I checked them out on YouTube—they don’t seem particularly at home in the suburbs. 

A.J. Williams

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    Instagram ID: ajwilliams23

    Caption: Who doesn’t like sprite?

    OK! Last one of Williams, I promise. Not sharing this one with the world would’ve just been wrong, though. 

The Rock

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    Instagram ID: therock

    Caption: Silverbacks and Koalas get along after all... Thank you AUSTRALIA for opening your arms (and Koala claws) w/ love to myself, Team Rock and our entire SAN ANDREAS film crew. Being able to call AUSTRALIA "Home" has been a true pleasure and unforgettable experience - the fans, the love, the filming, the crew, the workouts, the food and all our dirty jokes. Til we meet again, AUSTRALIA.. wish you peace, love and fine tequila -- if you can't find the first two, you can always find the last. #AussieLove #JRichardsBlues #KoalasTasteLikeChicken

    Geez that koala is cute! Hard to believe The Rock ate him…but he obviously did. 

Chad Johnson

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    Instagram ID: ochocinco

    Caption: Tongue actions on the 1st date and chicks talk about a damn 90 day rule

    Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson’s Instagram page reveals he’s absolutely obsessed with orca whales, so this must have been a really big moment for him. 

Ian Poulter

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    Instagram ID: ianjamespoulter

    Caption: I signed an #ijpdesign shirt and Chandrika #Woburn Safari Park elephant painted it. It will be auctioned off for Charity. Info to follow soon.

    In July, PGA player Ian Poulter visited a safari park located, believe it or not, in England. Apparently, they fund the park by putting the elephants to work painting.

Anthony Davis

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    Instagram ID: bamdavis_

    Caption: Big Baby. lol

    San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Anthony Davis is definitely what you would call an animal person. Nobody could resist the opportunity to bottle-feed a baby tiger, but he gets down with less glamours animals as well. 

Anthony Davis

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    Instagram ID: bamdavis_

    Caption: Only wanted me for my chip. lol

    A few months ago, a selfish little squirrel in Davis’ yard broke his heart when it made it clear it was only using him for salty snacks. 

Anthony Davis

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    Instagram ID: bamdavis_

    Caption: [No caption]

    Earlier in the offseason, Davis took a South African safari vacation, which was fantastically documented on Instagram. This snake is by far the most disturbing of all the animals he saw there. Yikes. 

Kevin Durant

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    Instagram ID: easymoneysniper

    Caption: One more.

    Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant spent some time in a very beautiful unnamed place this offseason. In addition to being the world’s lankiest scuba diver, it looks like he made at least one sea turtle friend. 

Justin Tucker

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    Instagram ID: jtuck9

    Caption: Black bear smiling for #zooselfies

    This summer, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker took one very eventful trip to the zoo with his family. The bear that looks like it definitely wants to eat him was the highlight of the day, but the laughing dolphins were a close second. 

Sydney Leroux

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    Instagram ID: sydneyleroux

    Caption: The owner tried to get it to kiss me. No thanks. 

    From the looks of this photo, one would assume that American soccer star Sydney Leroux and that iguana probably did not become friends.

    Let’s see how it turned out...

Sydney Leroux

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    Instagram ID: sydneyleroux

    Caption: Me and Pancho straight chillin.

    Surprise! After some mutual trepidation, these two ended up hitting it off. They even went hat shopping together. 

Chris Ogbonnaya

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    Instagram ID: chrisogbonnaya

    Caption: Thuggin w flipper

    Of the many photos of athletes hanging with dolphins on this list, none even comes close to the amazingness of Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya.

    Have you ever seen an animal and a human more delighted to be in each other’s presence? No. No you have not. 

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