Octopus Paul retires, international dispute over ownership begins

Octopus Paul has used his alleged psychic powers for the last time. Octopus Paul will be retiring from the oracle business, say officials at his aquarium in Germany.

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
Octopus Paul swims in front of a mock World Cup trophy in his tank at Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, on July 12. Paul was given a trophy full of mussels to honor his perfect predictions throughout the World Cup tournament. Paul picked Spain to win in the final on Sunday, wrapping up his career as an animal oracle.

Paul the Octopus is done predicting World Cup games. And not just because the World Cup is over, but because the "psychic" cephalopod is retiring.

Whether or not he'll pull a Brett Farve and be back for the 2014 World Cup remains to be seen.

Spain might be sad to see Paul step down, especially after he picked them to win their first ever World Cup trophy on Sunday, keeping with the octopus' perfect record for the tournament.

IN PICTURES: Paul the Octopus predicts World Cup outcomes

The Dutch however, are pointing fingers. Some are blaming the referee, criticizing the British ref for being too quick to call fouls on the Netherlands. And others are blaming Paul the Octopus himself.

While Paul is no stranger to death threats, it seems that some nations still have a bone to pick with the invertebrate (who himself has no bones).

An Argentine TV presenter, Roberto Pettinato, apparently harboring a severe grudge against Paul, proceeded to kill one of Paul's eight-limbed relatives on the air and put it in a blender.

And that's just the beginning of the continuing international octopus controversy.

In retirement Paul will "step back from the official oracle business. He won't give any more oracle predictions - either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," Tanja Munzing, spokeswoman for Sea Life in Oberhause, Germany, said. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh."

But children where, you ask?

There's the rub. Several nations are now "claiming" Paul the Octopus, saying that he should live in their country. England says it owns Paul, stating he was born in Weymouth prior to his trade to Sea Life Aquarium. Italy has claimed that Paul the Octopus was caught in Italian waters and that Italy is his "rightful homeland." France has claimed that Paul was found near Elba, Napoleon's home in exile, and is therefore truly a French octopus.

And Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero has even offered Paul political asylum in the wake of Spain's World Cup victory and the many death threats Paul has received. "I am concerned for the octopus ... I am thinking of sending him a protective team," Zapatero told Radio Cadena Ser.

What is Paul up to while all this international hullabaloo takes place? Likely feasting on more mussels and considering his next career move. The animal oracle was given a golden cup, similar to the World Cup trophy, filled with mussels on Monday to honor his prognosticating success.

The LA Times reported that a businessman has offered nearly $38,000 to rent Paul as a mascot for a food festival in northwestern Spain. Paul also has a Facebook page and millions of fans and followers all over the world.

Though the World Cup is over, this cephalopod's celebrity doesn't seem to be fading fast.

The real question is now, whose interview is worth more? Paul the Octopus, who according to NESN, will announce his decision on a live ESPN television event, or Lindsay Lohan when she gets out of jail?

IN PICTURES: Paul the Octopus predicts World Cup outcomes


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