In a big week for animals in sport, the most Disney Pixar moment of them all was arguably Victor Robles' unexpected companion during the Nationals versus Phillies game.
During the eighth inning on Monday night, it became apparent that a large praying mantis had taken a seat on the center fielder’s hat. While it’s not clear exactly when Robles became aware of the stowaway, match attendees were thankfully quick off the mark in getting footage of the pair.
Footage shows the mantis sitting atop Robles’ head, not dissimilar to Remy the gastronomically curious rat in Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille.
Whether or not the hat passenger gave Robles a sporting advantage is unconfirmed, the two made quite the team as the center fielder made sure his curious fascinator was on top of the game, letting it know the number of outs.
It might seem impressive that such a spindly insect could sit so comfortably on a baseball cap for an entire inning, but another recent video demonstrated the incredible staying power of leggy buggy things. In a Tweet that sparked empathy in the hearts of thousands, a stick insect down on its luck can be seen clinging for dear life to the aerial of a moving car.
Stick insect's incredible foot stickiness is facilitated by two wet and functionally different pads on the same foot, one of which helps with sticking while the other helps with unsticking. The technique is very different from that of geckos, which use dry sticky pads on their toes (and tails!) to hold on.
Insects weren’t the only creatures gatecrashing baseball this week, as a cat made an appearance at the Yankee Stadium – exposing the woeful defense of three players trying to reign it in with caps and, more questionably, a foot.
Even the Olympics briefly fell folly to wildlife appreciation, as a camera operator’s decision to capture an (undeniably quite beautiful) spectating cockroach during the final moments of a field hockey game received mixed responses on the internet.
While the potential highlight of someone’s sporting career was perhaps not the ideal time to start flexing your wildlife videography skills, it’s nice to see the little guys getting some big airtime for a change.