April 28, 2011 / 9:58 AM / 8 years ago

Two-headed tortoise takes on tipster role at World Championships

A two-headed African spurred tortoise named Magdalena moves around a small-scale model of an ice hockey rink, predicting hosts Slovakia would beat Slovenia in the opening match at the upcoming ice hockey World Championship on Friday, at Magdalena's hometown in Zilina April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

ZILINA, Slovakia (Reuters) - Following in the ‘footsteps’ of Paul the oracle octopus, a rare two-headed tortoise has embarked on a new career in predicting results at the upcoming ice hockey World Championship in Slovakia.

Magdalena the African spurred tortoise will try to replicate the success of Paul, who rose to fame by correctly predicting the outcome of eight successive matches at last year’s soccer World Cup in South Africa.

Magdalena’s first attempt was in line with bookmakers, predicting hosts Slovakia would beat outsiders Slovenia in the championship’s opening match on Friday.

Born in the northern Slovak town of Zilina in March with the genetic defect of having two heads, Magdalena makes the picks by moving around a small-scale model of an ice hockey rink.

Roman Gresak, the tortoise’s owner, said he would not force Magdalena to predict all the results.

“She will forecast selected matches,” he said. “The next one will be Norway against Sweden.”

Slovakia will host the 75th edition of the tournament in the capital Bratislava and the eastern own of Kosice, with 16 teams competing in the April 29-May 15 event. (Reporting by Radovan Stoklasa in Zilina and Martin Santa in Bratislava; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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