But what exactly counts as a beast?
After some thought, the nearest I can get is that a beast is an animal that's beastly.
We can narrow it down further. I don't think a bird can be a beast, or a frog, though a large reptile like a Komodo dragon can.
In fact I rather think that a beast can only really be a beast if it's potentially beastly to us.
But even that won't do, because horse flies and wasps can make themselves very unpleasant without being beasts. A beast needs strength and heft.
Coming back to the Home Counties of England, I realise with some sadness that the only beasts left to us are horses, cows, and stags.
I find myself full of envy for those of you who have a chance of spotting a bear:
photo by Mike Bender/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
photo by Malcolm
or a kangaroo:
photo by dnatheist
But I am going to have to make do with someone's pet horse.
Spot the Frippet: something theroid. This word comes from the Greek thēroeidēs, from thēr, which means wild animal.
*The Home Counties are the more comfortable areas surrounding London.