10 Bizarre Animal Sports

Disclaimer: We at Oddee love and respect animals. We do not condone or approve of animal cruelty in any way, shape, or form, but as a blog that reports on everything bizarre in our world, we thought that you should know about some of the craziest ways that animals are being used for sport around the world.

Reader discretion is advised.

1Elephant Polo

Elephant polo is a variant of polo played whilst riding elephants. It is played in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Rajasthan (India), and Thailand.

2Horse Soccer

Stress can cause a variety of aggressive and fearful responses in animals. Think about zoo animals or "pets" that are captured in the wild and then confined to a courtyard or cage. Even domesticated animals have anxiety living in confined areas. Equine behaviorists have long recognized the negative effects of stable stress on horses, and a group of them decided to create a game to ease the tension. That's how horse soccer was invented.

Horses enjoy playing soccer alone or with their riders. A new form of horse soccer is played with a large ball such as the one above. Horses and riders form teams and set up soccer goals. The horses, guided by their riders, kick or nudge the ball toward the team's goal. Sounds like a lot of fun.

3 Ferret Legging

The weird sport, called Ferret Legging, is a test of endurance or just the ability to “have your tool bitten and not care.” Also known as ferret-down-trousers and put ‘em down, the rules of the sport are pretty tight. Competitors have two ferrets placed inside their trousers, which are tied firmly at the ankles and belted up at the waist, thereby eliminating any point of escape for the furry creatures. The competitor then stands before judges, enduring the misery of the ferrets' razor-sharp claws and teeth. Other rules state that competitors cannot be drunk and the ferrets must not be sedated. Also, the ferrets must have a full set of teeth that have not been blunted or filed. The man who stands the longest, wins.

4Cow Fighting

Cow fighting is a traditional Swiss event. Unlike bullfighting, in which humans fight bulls, cow fighting pits cow against cow. Each fight can last up to 40 minutes. Similar events take place in Haute-Savoie, France, in the Aosta Valley of Italy, and also in Artvin, Turkey.

5Camel Wrestling

The west coast of Turkey has a tradition of camel wrestling, which pits champion beasts from local villages against each other in a dusty stadium. But it tends to be as comic as it is exciting, since camels aren't natural-born fighters.

Camel wrestling is an open-air stadium sport pitting two bulls against each other, encouraged by an alluring cow, who's paraded in front of the contestants and led away. The male camels froth at the nose and mouth, and then -- if the crowd is lucky -- start to fight. The object for a wrestling camel, usually, is to dominate his rival by sitting on him.

The problem is that camels aren't built for battle. They can be nastily temperamental and prone to using their teeth; but a camel-wrestling match is a struggle for dominance using whatever method occurs to the animals at the time. The camels are muzzled -- colorfully -- to avoid bites, but a match might involve growling.

6Roller Pigeon Competition

Roller pigeons are a domesticated breed of pigeons that can roll, somersaulting backward in fast and tight rotations, while flying through the air or on the ground. Some roller pigeons can roll so fast that they resemble spinning balls of feathers.

They are selectively bred to increase the duration, height and quality of their rolls for competition. Roller pigeons are also bred for their ability to fly and roll simultaneously as a team with other roller pigeons.

Teams are usually comprised of eight to 20 pigeons. During competitions, the birds are judged on several factors, including their compact formation, simultaneous rolling, depth and quality of the rolls. Judges concentrate on three phases of rolling: the entrance to the roll, the roll itself and the recovery from the roll.

Not all types of roller pigeons are bred for their ability to roll mid-air in competitions. Show rollers, for example, are bred for their appearance while parlor rollers, which do not fly, are bred for their ability to roll on the ground.

7Elephant Basketball

The Island Safari Centre on Koh Samui is teaching six-year-old Malie and nine-year-old Toktak to use their trunks to perform basketball skills, in an effort to improve their health and vitality. Organizers at the center which cares for the animals, say they undergo rigorous training in order to learn the basics of the game.

The keepers begin by teaching the elephants basic ball control skills, and how to hold the ball in their trunk. The animals are then taught to stand on their hind legs, walk with the ball, and finally, shoot it through the hoop.

8Dog Fighting

Dog fighting is a form of blood sport in which game dogs are made to fight, sometimes to the death. It is illegal in most developed countries. Dog fighting is used for entertainment and may also generate revenue from stud fees, admission fees and gambling.

9World Snail Racing Championships

Ready, set, slow! Snail racing involves racing two or more land snails, typically on a circular track with a radius of 13-14 inches. Racing numbers are either painted on their shells or small stickers are attached to them to distinguish each competitor. Many snail-racing events take place worldwide each year, but the annual World Snail Racing Championship in the U.K. is the most popular.

10 Turkey Bowling

Turkey bowling is a sport which is based on ordinary bowling: a frozen turkey serves as a bowling ball and 10 plastic bottles of soft drinks or water are the bowling pins. The turkey is bowled down a smooth surface, for example, ice. It is commonly associated with Thanksgiving and is popular in minor league ice hockey in the United States and Canada.