Wildebeest are third wave hipsters – paranoid that the next cool thing is on the other side of town; running after each other but never quite knowing where they are heading; stupid hairstyle and scraggly beards.
Zebras are the new colleague who joins your office who you instantly know you will like. They have sturdy hips and quirky shoes and rocking haircuts. They fill their spare time with interesting hobbies: maybe roller derby, or folk singing, or crochet.
Baboons are the hoodies who hang around aimlessly outside Swiss Cottage station. It’s not that they’re doing anything specifically menacing, per se, but they are low-level sinister nonetheless.
Leopards are effortlessly glossy and needlessly haughty women. They might be Italian.
Cheetahs are scruffy and a bit chaotic. They carry too many tote bags and do their makeup on the train. Their highlights are growing out and they hope that people think it’s balayage. (People don’t). They drink fruit cider and are enormously good fun.
Lions eat organic food and live in Stoke Newington. They don’t need your validation.
Vultures are polite, smart men in their mid fifties. They carry briefcases and rolled newspapers and proper big black umbrellas. They always step aside for women on the tube. At lunchtime, though, they lurk menacingly in internet comment sections. “THIS ISN’T NEWS” they rage, incensed, having deliberately navigated to the TV and radio blogs section of the Guardian website.
Flamingoes are a big deal on Instagram.
Hippos work as customer service agents for TfL. They’re pleasant and helpful – but gruff, too, having been worn down by years of tourist confusion and commuter abuse.
Impala are on grad schemes. They’re wide eyed and neat in their over-shiny brand new business wear. You never see that many of them in one place, but somehow they are everywhere you look.
Bush babies get on the 390 bus at 4.30am outside Egg in King’s Cross. They are wide eyed, jittery, probably harmless but deeply unsettling.
Elephants go on protest marches, carrying resplendent banners. They are union members. They believe in solidarity. They identify with Jeremy Corbyn politically, but have significant doubts about his capability as party leader.
Rhinos are the good men on dating sites: real, apparently, but elusive.
Pelicans are the jolly, pleasantly drunk people who start singalongs on the night bus. At first you resist them, but you are a bit drunk too and – let’s face it – you wish your life was a musical so spontaneous collective singing experiences are kind of your jam.
Lilac breasted rollers [are totally a real thing, even though they sound made up, and] are the girls you see on the tube with ombre pastel My Little Pony Hair and denim jackets covered in enamel pin badges. You hope they know you share the same heart, even though you are wearing a grey dress and have your hair in an unflattering ponytail.
Rock hyraxes are your unassuming, down-to-earth mate who’s secretly a massive corporate high flyer.
Buffalo are aggro commuters. “MOVE THE FUCK DOWN THE CARRIAGE,” they shout, at children and pregnant ladies alike.
Gazelles are singers/dancers/actors who just-for-now are working as waiters/baristas/Zumba instructors.
Giraffes are impossibly beautiful teenagers. They have willowy limbs and improbably long eyelashes; their skin is perfect, porcelain, poreless. Their boxy, jewel-toned blazers are ill-fitting; their sports bags are too big; their laughs are self-conscious and showy. They are heart-breakingly gorgeous.
Tsetse flies work for Foxtons, the utter utter bastards.