Only the bravest explorers traverse the London Underground. The tunnels of the Tube have their own microclimate and ecosystem, and are inhabited by a wide array of eccentric species.
Most of these specimens are placid, if not friendly, but recently I have observed a worrying trend of hostility from Undergrounders.
It’s rough out there, so take a minute to familiarise yourself with the various creatures of the Tube, and the assorted threats that they pose. And if any of these sound like you, please, it’s not too late to change.
The Glass Pane Goblin is a quaint creature. It is notable for being small enough to stand perfectly upright by the glass panes adjacent to the Tube doors. While unthreatening, these individuals take pernicious pleasure in migrating to the opens plains of the carriage centre when tall people board.
There is no conceivable reason for this besides a sadistic desire to punish those of us who physically have to hunch when positioned on the outskirts of the carriage.
They are vagrants, but they rate at a tame 1/5 on the Tube Menace Richter Scale.
Reptiles are attracted to warmer climates, and you should always be on your guard for Suitcase Snakes in the Amazonian climes of the Central and Northern lines.
The rippling motion of their elongated bodies makes them treacherous foes to be stuck behind, and this is best combated by sharply accelerating past them. They get a sturdy 2/5 on the Tube threat measure, as they lack the recovery speed to retaliate once overtaken, dragging their luggage behind them.
The Clapham Couple is distinctive even in the context of this list, for the fact that they are actually two people that present as one.
Occupying the doorway between carriages, their entwined forms and anteater-like tongues create a Medusa-esque effect that can freeze fellow travellers in embarrassment.
They come in at a repulsive 3/5, for the fact that their extroverted petting is nauseating, but rarely lethal.
Which brings us to the Crashball Armadillo. Ah, so many questions. Why is your bag so big? Why is your bag so heavy? Is there no better way to transport cinder blocks? Why don’t you take that bag off and put it on the floor? Did you notice bumping into the elderly women next to you?
This backpacked critter is an increasingly recognisable figure on the underground. But ominously, just as a virus will mutate to resist antibiotics, a new strain of Crashball Armadillo is emerging.
I am referring, of course, to the backpack-wearer who simultaneously sticks their elbows out so that they can also play on their phone. Combined with the motion of the train, this creates the effect of a human wrecking ball.
Screaming in at an emphatic 4/5 on the Tube pest rankings, and awarded zero for self-awareness.
But all of these pale in comparison to the Opening Door Minotaur.
The very fabric of British society is stitched together by queueing. These are the anarchists picking our world apart at the seams. They are the monsters that manners forget, who exist outside of all societal norms.
You will find them salivating and prowling the platform like an in-season Nigel Farage at border control, pawing the ground before bulldozing past hapless commuters at the precise moment the Tube doors creak open.
Veteran members of the species tend to adopt a starting position at the rear of the platform to give themselves the added momentum of a run-up. Rating at 5/5, these public menaces simply do not belong in civilised company.