“We have no rabbits in Poland” said our guide gravely as Isabel enthused over our pets back home (thriving, thanks for asking). Despite this obvious flaw the country boasts a rich natural fauna as follows.

WILD BOAR: I was totally impressed by the wild boar because they looked exactly like the wild boar you get in Asterix books. Since I am rapidly approaching the physique of Obelix I wondered about lifting one above my head but there was a big fence between me and the animals so I decided best not. (Tim Hopkins has voiced his doubts about whether boars seen behind a big fence can really be described as ‘wild’. Fair comment alas.)

BISON: This was the main event as far as Polish wildlife goes. The European Bison had died out in the wild after World War I but has now been reintroduced thanks to the hard work of the National Bison Reserve, where we went. It is a grand animal alright, slow-moving but dignified. The nearest we came to seeing some in the wild was a TV ad for Bison Beer which featured bison lowing the praises of same. We also found a big clump of hair hanging from the bark of a fallen tree – “Bison passed this way and scratched themselves here” said our guide. I asked if Isabel could keep the discarded fur. “No, no” the guide said hurriedly – the forest was sacred. But what a happy coincidence that the bison had scratched themselves so recently on the main tourist route!

WOLF: Lonely wanderer of the European forest!

ZUBRONIE: I think that’s how this was spelt. This beautiful yet freakish beast was an example of science gone mad – an offspring of a bison and an ox and yet BIGGER THAN EITHER. It looked like a bogglingly huge cow and had to be kept behind three different fences. They are always sterile apparently – just as well else mankind would be under their hoof.

BEARD ANT: This was a kind of ant that makes its home in beards and I will say no more about it.

FROG: To be quite truthful the only animal we saw in the wild bit of the forest was a very small frog, everything else having wisely fled from our galumphing presence. It was quite a nice frog as these things go.

ELK: The surprise hit animal of our Polish trip. They are big deer with extremely dopey expressions and big jowls. The specimen we met was extremely friendly and let Isabel pat her often – watch for her placid face on next month’s FT front page!