Squirrels are coming. In 2012, expect your bars to be named after them, your bands to use them on fliers and album covers, your coffee cups, T shirts and lighters to display them. Expect twentysomethings and early thirtysomethings to wear them on necklaces and earrings. Someone, somewhere, will get a squirrel tattoo.
Owls dominated 2011.
Before that, it was birds, generally. Any species was acceptable, but ravens, mockingbirds and bluebirds were big.
2009 saw the rise of the unicorn.
Panda bears also had a brief heyday, preceded by a long bout of wolves.
After much profound consideration, my intuition tells me that post-squirrel 2013 will be the year of the whale. Blue whales, more specifically.
But it could be orcas, as they are the panda bear of whales.