Quick: how many animals can you name in a minute?
OK, now think about how many of those animals have you seen, in real life, in the past year. Not many, right?
Most of us live in a world devoid of wild animals, apart from maybe a few species like squirrels or raccoons. This means that we have few opportunities to compare our mental map — the idea of an animal that we carry around in our heads — against the real thing. And that means that sometimes, those mental maps can be off to a surprising degree.