Meet the Zoo Hiding in the Tube Map

All Elephant and No Castle: a secret bestiary of the London Underground

Rats and other vermin live in the London Underground, and there are probably urban legends around about bigger, nastier animals down in the Tube. But a whale? An elephant? And an emu? How about a pig, a polar bear and a baby rhino? All these and more species, enough to fill a zoo, live in the Underground – but not in the actual tunnels: they’re cleverly hiding in the map of the Underground.


Someone collected them all at this site, where you can check out all the beasts squatting in the Tube Map. Henceforth, you will be travelling along familiar lines to stations code-named for their parallel purpose in this secret bestiary:

  • A trip from Euston to Angel is a ride along the top of the Whale’s Fin
  • Travelling from Goodge Street to Holborn means switching from the Northern to the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road. Which is a hassle. But now you’ve made the Polar Bear Smile
  • Green Park is the Whale’s Eye
  • Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square are the Hound’s Eyes - right and left, respectively
  • It’s all a matter of taste, of course. The Hound’s Eyes are also the Fox’s Eyes. And the Whale’s Eye could be the Elephant’s Mouth, if you prefer.
  • Westferrry, on the Docklands Light Railway, pretty much is the Dog’s Arse, though
  • Foxes, the sourge of London - both overground and Underground.

    Since Animals on the Underground first came to our attention, the scope of the website has expanded. The site now also shows animals on the New York, Moscow and Paris Metros:

    Moscow Metro Goldfish 

    Blue Tit hiding in the New York Metro, just south of Central Park

    An Alsatian on the Paris Metro

    Related Articles

    Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

    It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

    Image: Nissim Benvenisty
    Surprising Science
    • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
    • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
    • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
    Keep reading Show less

    How exercise helps your gut bacteria

    Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

    National Institutes of Health
    Surprising Science
    • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
    • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
    • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
    Keep reading Show less

    Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

    A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

    Image: damn_unique via Flickr
    Surprising Science
    • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
    • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
    • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
    Keep reading Show less