Abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning are his favourite painters.
He enjoys reading military history – most recently the sinking of the Bismarck in World War II.
The bird he would most like to see is the Araripe manakin, a species only found in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil. He calls it the Duran Duran bird, because of its bright red crest resembling a quiff.
His most memorable wildlife spectacle is watching “one million flamingos” flying in to land on Lake Victoria. “I could have burst, it was beyond comprehension.”
He always keeps a roll of bin bags in his travel bag – he can use them for wet clothes or dead specimens.
A favourite joke is: “I was at the zoo the other day and I saw a bloke trying to chat up a cheetah – he was trying to pull a fast one.”