“What are little boys and girls made of…” should read lobsters, alligators and sticklebacks for boys, while for girls miniature pigs, cats, and ponies, rather than the Victorian sugar and spice… and snips and snails…, according to a new YouGov survey.
The YouGov survey attracted 190,000 responses in which people listed animals they either liked or admired the most, in what is probably the largest dataset ever gathered on people’s phobias and passions in the animal kingdom.
Overall, British people’s most popular animals are dogs, tigers and elephants, while the least liked are eels, millipedes and spiders.
Animals that men are particularly likely to like, in comparison to Britain as a whole. Strength is shown in Z scores, a statistical way to measure the significance of differences between the two groups. (Image: YouGov)
Dogs and snails liked more by women
The most surprising finding was the difference in preferences between males and females. Even the Victorian nursery rhyme was wrong about dogs, as statistically speaking dogs and snails are more popular among females than males.
Cute versus aggressive
In general women are likely to be more endeared to cute, beautiful and exotic animals, while men have sympathy for aggressive, heroic or creepy creatures.
Lobsters and alligators are the most particularly male animals, while females are most likely to prefer miniature pigs and cats.
“These correlations are highly significant: the most male animals have a z-score of over 4 (a statistical measure of the strength of correlations) and the most female animal scoring over 7.”
Animals that women are particularly likely to like, in comparison to Britain as a whole. (Image: YouGov)
However, this does not mean that miniature pigs are the most popular animals among women and lobsters among men. Rather, the data shows that lobsters are unusually popular among males when compared to the preferences of the population as a whole.
Piranhas, eagles and sharks – animals with violent defensive abilities – are particularly popular among males. The Narwhal is the only mammal in the top 20 that is uniquely male, while for females they were all mammals except for the butterfly and penguin.