Nobody was expecting hard science from the BBC’s Test Your Pet, but even so it left pet owners shortchanged in its attempts to define animal intelligence as ‘doing cool tricks’. This is all very well if you have a dog, otherwise it’s nonsense – but there was room for a populist programme which really would teach viewers a few things about the animals they live with. As it was the attempt to shoehorn everything from snakes to puppies into one ‘pet’ category was plainly doomed. There are really obvious and basic distinctions, for instance, between intelligence shown by prey and predator animals. A cat entering a room might well head straight for where it thinks a treat/prey is: a guinea pig doing the same would be mental, it needs to scope out the area first for boltholes and potential threats before it can deal with the food.

(Of course we went and tried the various ‘tests’ on our rabbits and they did very well, the male being particularly persistent with the broccoli tied to a string. Awww.)