Sure, a dog is a man's best friend. But when you're a famous athlete, who wants to cuddle with an old cliche? These nine celebrity athletes would much rather get up close and personal with something a little more shocking.
Mike Tyson, Tigers
Who can forget the tiger scene from "The Hangover?" Well, rumor has it that tiger actually belonged to Mike Tyson. In addition to having one inked on his face, the former boxing champ has been known to deal in Siberian white tigers, and fancied himself a collector before his bankruptcy. It isn't hard to imagine how someone could go bankrupt caring for a few big cats, especially when each tiger once cost him $4,000 a month. In May of 2010, the Department of Agriculture confiscated four tigers from a tattoo parlor in Gary, Indiana -- one of which belonged to Tyson.
Chad Ochocinco, Tropical Fish
Water beds? Those are for amateurs -- and this Patriot is no amateur. Ochocinco and fiance Evelyn Lozada created the ultimate fantasy suite with their tropical fish tank bed. It's so mesmerizing, Ochocinco can get a bit jealous when Lozado finds herself gazing at the fish instead of him.
Darnell Dockett, Alligator
At NFL training camp, coaches tend to worry more about athletes being distracted by the ladies than, say, a reptile. But lucky for the Arizona Cardinals, defensive end Darnell Dockett would much rather cozy up to his scaly soul mate Nino, who he brought to training camp last summer. Dockett was so pumped about his bunk buddy, he announced it on Twitter. Notice the muzzle in the previous link. Wonder what his teammates thought of this herpetological show and tell?
Gilbert Arenas, Sharks
After a 2010 incident in which Arenas drew handguns in the Wizards' locker room, we weren't too surprised to learn the NBA star isn't a collector of kittens. Early last year, the Washington Post reported on the epic courtroom battle between Arenas and ex-girlfriend Laura Govan, who claimed her former beau's pet sharks devoured more than $6,000 a month in food and care. We're just pleased to know he spent more in one FAO Schwartz shopping spree for his three children.
Mikki Moore, Exotic Snakes
If you're 7 feet tall, maybe large snakes just don't scare you as much. Having played for nine different NBA teams, Moore certainly needed a constant in his life, and if Burmese pythons and Colombian red-tail boas do the trick, who are we to judge? Apparently, his slithering friends have never tried to bite him. Probably because he keeps them from being made into a pair of Manolos.
Ernie Sims, Iguana and Monkey
Like Mikki Moore, Colts linebacker Sims has a soft spot for reptiles -- and pretty much any animal you could imagine. Along with his exotic snakes, an alligator, about 20 dogs and several horses, Sims enjoys the company of his iguana and his monkey Sidney. We're extra impressed by Sims' degree in environmental studies from Florida State University, and the foundation he leads to fight animal abuse.
Ross Ohlendorf, Longhorns
Free agent MLB player Ohlendorf and his parents keep about 300 longhorn cattle on their Texas ranch. Just because it might be hard to keep their names straight doesn't mean these four-legged friends don't count as pets. Ohlendorf bestows every calf with a name, and helps to wean them in the off-season. His agricultural talents even landed him an eight week internship in the U.S. Department of Agriculture after the 2009 season.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Ferrets
The Minnesota Viking has a soft spot for his mischievous ferrets, Gee and Smoke. The ferrets have their own three story cage to play in, but even when they're free to roam, they can cause as much trouble as puppies. Shiancoe told SI Kids they are constantly knocking over and digging into his potted plants. Thankfully, he has mom to watch out for them when he's on the road. Gee, thanks.
Patrick Deneen, Miniature Donkeys
Be careful, or your six year-old daughter will be begging for one in no time. World Champion freestyle skier Deneen and his family have a plethora of pets at their Washington state home, but is anything more adorable than a miniature donkey? Carlos and Shawnie may not be able to carry a heavy load at the farm, but they keep the other pets company -- when they aren't outshining them in the cute department, of course.
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