Octopus Paul has thunder stolen by Mani the Parakeet

Octopus Paul picked Spain to win the World Cup final as Mani the Parakeet, a new animal oracle from Singapore, predicts that the Netherlands will be victorious.

Joan Leong/AP
As opposed to Octopus Paul, who picked Spain, in Singapore's Little India neighborhood, Mani, a 13-year-old parakeet, picks up a card with the Netherlands flag on it on July 9, predicting that the Dutch will win the 2010 World Cup.
Roberto Pfeil/AP
Paul the Octopus chooses the mussel from a glass box marked with Spain's flag, predicting that Spain will beat the Netherlands and win the World Cup.

Mani the Parakeet has made his pick. The Dutch will be the 2010 World Cup champions.

Wait, but what about Paul the Octopus? Oh yeah, he had a prediction too.

Paul picked Spain to win the World Cup final. This was the first time Paul has had to pick a game that did not involve Germany. Earlier on Friday, the cephalopod stuck with his home country when he picked Germany to beat Uruguay in their 3rd-place match on July 10.

IN PICTURES: Paul the Octopus predicts World Cup outcomes

While TV stations from Great Britain to Taiwan showed up to broadcast live from Paul's home at Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, it seems as though Paul is no longer the only animal oracle making headlines.

Mani, Singapore's 'forecasting parakeet,' is on the scene too.

Like Paul, Mani picked Spain to beat Germany in the semifinals, coming out of his wooden house and picking between two cards with the nations' flags on them.

That correct prediction helped propel the little bird from Singapore's Little India neighborhood to international fame.

Mani's owner, M. Muniyappan, said about 30 people a day now pay for Mani's alleged psychic services, the AP reported.

"I've come to him before to know when my luck will change," one of Muniyappan's customers, Ali, said. "I believe in him and the bird."

So now it's not just Spain versus the Netherlands, it's Paul the Octopus versus Mani the Parakeet. Or nine brains versus one, if you want to think about it physiologically.

But also, who has more to lose with an incorrect pick?

Paul the Octopus has been inundated with death threats from Argentina and Germany. Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés is however currently running his restaurants sans octopus, but we assume Spain needs to bring home the gold trophy to keep the octopi from appearing back on the menu.

Also, Spain's Prime Minster Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has offered protection for El Pulpo Paul saying, "I am concerned about the octopus. I'm thinking about sending in a team to protect the octopus because obviously it was very spectacular that he should get Spain's victory right from there." How spectacular would Zapatero continue to consider Paul should he be wrong about Sunday's upcoming match?

Mani the Parakeet on the other hand, is cultivating a booming psychic business. We think he'll be announcing a merger with Dionne Warwick once the World Cup hoopla is over.

But clearly Paul is in a potential do-or-die situation. Could this cloud his foresight and affect his prediction?

Even though we welcomed a Spanish victory yesterday for Paul's sake, Mani the Parakeet may have the upper hand – or wing – this time. Ga Nederland!

IN PICTURES: Paul the Octopus predicts World Cup outcomes


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