We've all been fed up with a celebrity at one time or another, but harassment laws prevent us from doing anything other than rolling our eyes when they're on the Today Show and refusing to buy Cosmo when they appear on the cover. For animals, it's a different story. They can hiss and bite with impunity and people excuse their behavior just because they're literally incapable of knowing any better.
The latest victim is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Apparently, being named after a member of the animal kingdom didn't win him any points with the residents of the St. Louis Zoo. The Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, “During his visit to the popular zoo in Forest Park, he was treated to a behind-the-scenes visit with two Magellanic penguins. One of them nipped Gingrich on the finger.”
Gingrich only needed a small Band-Aid, but the attack left many unanswered questions. Is the penguin a staunch Romney supporter, or are Gingrich's fingers just magically delicious? Whatever the reason, animal attacks are turning into a disturbing trend. PETA may be working to protect animals from heartless, fur-wearing celebrities, but no one stuck up for these stars during their vicious (and possibly deserved) run-ins with nature.
Ryan Seacrest v. Shark
Hollywood seems to think that Ryan Seacrest must be involved in every show that can be hosted — but sharks are having none of it. Several years ago, a shark took a bite out of the American Idol veteran's toe while he was swimming in Mexico. "It swam up to me, and it took a bite, and then he left," said Seacrest. He was perfectly fine after an aspirin and a bandage, but the message from marine life was perfectly clear — even if they did send a cat-sized sand shark to do a Great White's job.
Chris Brown v. Seagulls
As with many of Chris Brown's feuds, he brought this one on himself. In February, Brown and his entourage were feeding seagulls french fries on the beach in Miami. Then when Brown took a break to apply sunscreen, the birds lunged at him. The take away: If you try to cut animals' feeding time short, they're likely to make a meal out of you.
Shakira v. Sea Lion
Shakira also learned an important lesson about taunting marine life with snacks. While vacationing in South Africa in February, a sea lion jumped out of the water. "[It] roared in fury and tried to bite me," she wrote on Facebook, adding that her brother saved her life by pulling her away from the animal. "We both got our hands and legs scratched by the rocks while trying to protect ourselves." Shakira theorized that the sea lions saw the shiny reflection of her Blackberry and thought she was holding a fish.
Madonna v. Horse
Most humans would be too scared to anger the Material Girl, but apparently horses have no fear of having their eyes poked out with a cone bra. In 2005, Madonna broke three ribs, a hand, and her collarbone when she slipped from a saddle — and in 2009, another horse had the audacity to throw her. Madonna made a full recovery, but the paparazzi who frightened the animal were scared for their own lives.
Paris Hilton v. Kinkajou
Considering the number of pets Paris Hilton has, we're guessing she's been bitten by furry creatures on a regular basis. However, only one pet actually sent her to the emergency room. In 2006 her kinkajou Baby Luv (a racoon-like animal) gave her a "superficial bite on her left arm." Baby Luv was riled up from a play session with Hilton, and possibly angered at the lack of good help in the heiress' two-story dog house. Hilton was given a tetanus shot and a bandage, and poor Baby Luv mysteriously disappeared from her menagerie.
Dolphins are among the most civilized creatures in the wild, but much like humans, they still commit crimes of passion. In the '70s, Sarandon was hanging out in a California dolphin lab with Timothy Leary (who didn't?) when she bonded with a dolphin called Joe. She was in the tank holding on to Joe's fin when his jealous mate clamped down on her arm. "I could hear [researchers] shouting, 'No, Rosie! Don't!' I looked over and Joe's mate, this huge dolphin I hadn't even noticed before, was virtually standing up right out of the water, towering over me on its rear fins," Sarandon explained. "She seemed to be 12 feet tall, emitting this loud, high-pitched noise. The attendants were screaming, 'We've got to get you out!' I was afraid I was going to get my other arm broken." Her wound took months to heal, but researchers said she was lucky Rosie didn't kill her.
Jessica Alba's dolphin run-in wasn't dangerous, but it was incredibly awkward. It seems the dolphins on her show Flipper liked her just as much as male humans do. "Dolphins get excited, even when you're a human being, and they have long, long... I didn't know this until I was poked by a few of them, which was very rude," she said. "I sort of requested female dolphins after that."