Illustration from 'The Anniversary of the Literary Fun 1836' by Thomas Hood, published by Baily and Co, Cornhill. The reputation of academics for absent mindedness, eccentricity, and absorbtion in their books goes back a long way. The theme of the home menagerie may have developed due to the exploits of eccentric naturalists such a geologist William Buckland who was famous for his Christ's College home menagerie (which at one point included a free range bear called Tiglath Pileser).