Here's A List Of Animals That Resemble World Leaders. And Vice Versa.
I must confess I feel a bit sorry for Dermophis donaldtrumpi.
The tiny burrowing amphibian has been named after Donald Trump because its blindness and liking for burying its head in the ground is said to mirror the US president’s attitude to global warming.
Which seems a bit unfair: the little guy didn’t choose to be blind, and burrowing into the ground is just what it needs to get by. Dermophis donaldtrumpi, as far as scientists can tell, has never expressed doubt about the reality of climate change, so it seems a very harsh brush with which to tar the poor slimy little fella.
One day you’re minding your own business, blindly digging into the fertile soil of Panama, the next you’re the face of climate denialism.
But if we are going to go down the route of identifying wildlife with public figures, let’s do it properly. There are loads of leaders and celebrities who align closely enough with our animal cousins that a bit of revised nomenclature could be in order.
I don’t mean the obvious ones, like calling Winston Churchill a bulldog because he looked like one. I’m suggesting we go a bit deeper, like…
We know that the man himself would probably like to identified with the noble Siberian tiger, and we know that by just looking at him we can see a remarkable resemblance to the common flathead catfish.
But think more about Putin. Who is he? What does he represent? He loves power. He loves Russia. He loves taking off his shirt and sitting on a horse. But most of all, he loves control: he adores manipulating others to his own ends.
This is why I propose renaming the domestic cat, felix catus, to felix Putinari, to reflect that creature’s Machiavellian ability to program humans to do its bidding.
Now let us look to...
Naturally the mind turns instantly to lame ducks.
But that would be uncharitable.
Let us think instead of those animals who are constantly trying, against all odds, to Leave.
Sperm whales are noted for their habit of desperately attempting to escape their natural habitat, only to find themselves flailing helplessly on the beach, unable to go either forward or backward.
Nothing could be more emblematic of May’s prime ministership, and so let us christen the sperm whale Physeter Theresamay.
What of our own prime minister?
It was easier when we were led by Malcolm Turnbull, who both looked exactly like a koala.
Scott Morrison is trickier. He’s incredibly eager to please, which puts one in mind of a cocker spaniel: but he’s also feisty and eager for a fight, which puts one in mind of a springer spaniel.
Either way, his nickname “Scott the Spaniel” is well-earned.
But really, the Morrison prime ministership is characterised by nothing so much as a steadfast determination to keep ploughing ahead no matter what, a certain heroic myopia, and a constant need to put out spot fires.
Which makes him, obviously, a rhinoceros. Obviously, a white rhinoceros -- Ceratotherium simum. From now on to be known as Ceratotherium Scomoum.
And then there is the man who may well be our next prime minister.
When I think of what animal Shorten most clearly resembles, like everyone my mind goes immediately to the crab-eating macaque.
But again, we’re not looking for the obvious answer here. We’re looking for an animal that says, in its very essence, “Bill”.
Bill is ambitious. Bill is methodical. Bill is possessed of an immovable opinion regarding his own sense of humour.
Above all, Bill is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal, even if it is at enormous cost and when he ends up achieving it it turns out to have not really been worth it.
You see what I’m getting at, don’t you? Yep, the painted lady butterfly -- Vanessa cardui -- which migrates in spring from North Africa to Britain, and in autumn from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle.
Why they do this I have no idea, but they’re butterflies, so it can’t be that good a reason.
Yet they go on, tirelessly flapping across thousands and thousands of miles just to get to somewhere else, which they can’t even appreciate because they’re insects.
Also, the painted ladies that start the migration aren’t even the ones that finish it -- they don’t live long enough, so they breed en route and it’s their descendants who arrive.
Long, exhausting journeys for little tangible benefit, with many dying along the way? That’s Our Bill!
I give you the painted lady – Vanessa Shorten. Sounds good, doesn’t it?