When Minnesota Viking Visanthe Shiancoe is home, away from the rough and tumble of the football field, he's cleaning up after his rough and tumble ferrets. The tight end's two pets, Smoke and Gee, are usually out of their three-story cages and knocking over trash cans or throwing around dirt from potted plants.
He isn't the only athlete with beloved (and maybe even a little strange) pets. In Sports Illustrated Kids' June issue, Shiancoe and four other pros open up about their furry friends, including dogs, donkeys and longhorn cows.
There's freestyle skier Patrick Deneen, who cares for four border collies, a donkey, two miniature donkeys and 26 horses.
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims, who wants to own a zoo someday, has a house that looks more like a reptile exhibition. It's full of lizards, iguanas and pythons – and even a kinkajou and a snapping turtle.
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf has a few pet cows on his family farm in Texas, where there are 300 longhorn cattle.
Practically snooze-worthy by comparison is Australian basketball player Tully Bevilaqua, who has two dogs and a cat. Bevilaqua does, however, Skype with them when she's on the road. Pets that can video chat – that's different!
Check out our photo gallery for a peek at these athletes and their pets, and for even more, be sure to pick up Sports Illustrated Kids' latest issue, on newsstands now.
Athletes and Their Pets: Ferrets, Miniature Donkeys and More!
Steve Barrett/SI Kids
05/26/2010 AT 07:45 AM EDT