Don’t Touch the Walrus

Rules, regulations and by-laws, don’t they get you down? And London has more than its share.

Don’t touch the walrus or sit on the iceberg

The walrus has been on display at the Horniman Museum for more than a century. One of the most popular exhibits in the museum, probably due to its odd shape as it appears stretched and ‘overstuffed’ as it lacks the skin folds characteristic of a walrus in the wild. Over one hundred years ago, only a few people had ever seen a live walrus, so it is hardly surprising that ours does not look true to life. He sits on his own ‘iceberg’.

Don’t feed the pigeons

Ken Livingstone, as the first London mayor, dealt with the plague in Trafalgar Square of what he called “flying rats”. Those guilty of the offence can be punished with a £500 fine. When the square was pedestrianised Westminster Council realised the North Terrace outside the National Gallery was not covered by the ban and amended the law to prevent determined feeders from exploiting a loophole.

Don’t climb on the lions

Consultants conducted a survey in 2011 and discovered corrosion, scratches and ‘cracking’ on the lions in Trafalgar Square, and found litter pushed into their mouths.
The inspectors also discovered that the bronze on the south-east facing lion had been worn down to a thickness of just 0.2 inches, up to three times thinner than the same parts of the other lions. The same lion was seen to vibrate when visitors climbed on its back. They suggested that children stop acting out scenes from The Lion King./span>

Don’t touch a pelican

Pelican-touching is ‘expressly forbidden’ should you happen to find one in a London park, according to the Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997. But should you have a desire to get your fingers bitten, you can pet one if ‘prior permission is obtained’. Presumably from the park, not the pelican.

Don’t mate with the Queen’s corgis

Apparently, you were once forbidden to allow your dogs to mate with one of the Monarch’s corgis. Presumably, this is to avoid any unwanted mongrel offspring, the dogs that is.

Don’t kill a swan

The Queen doesn’t own all the breeds of swan in England, but she does have first dips on mute swans. But she’s only allowed to eat them, as long as she and her diners are guests of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Mute swans are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and killing them is punishable with a £5,000 fine.

Don’t handle a salmon suspiciously

Under the well-known Salmon Act of 1986, it’s illegal to handle salmon ‘under suspicious circumstances’. You’ve been warned.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Touch the Walrus”

    1. It’s something I made up. It was a joking response concerning the old-fashioned cod pieces worn by ancient warriors. I know it was tasteless. Sorry about that. Couldn’t resist.

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