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Species profiles of the Mammal species found in Ireland.

Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

harbour porpoise

Reaching a maximum length of around 1.9 metres, the diminutive harbour porpoise (also known as the common porpoise) is Ireland’s smallest cetacean species and our only species of porpoise. Found right around the Irish coastline, it is one of the most widely distributed cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in the northern hemisphere…..

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red squirrel in autumn

The red squirrel is Ireland’s only native squirrel, and perhaps the cutest member of the rodent family. This endearing little tree-dweller, with its characteristic bushy tail and ear-tufts, thrived in the large forests of Scots pine that were common in Ireland after the last ice age. In time these Scots….

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)

Red Deer Stag Vivian Wynne Philips

In late September and early October the signature roar of red deer stags (males) echoes around the woods and mountains of Killarney National Park in Co. Kerry, signalling the start of the autumn rut. Our only native deer, the red deer was once common throughout the country, but a combination….

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Grey Seal by Leon van der Noll

When it was made the world’s first officially protected species in 1914 the future looked bleak for the grey seal. The turnaround since then represents perhaps the most successful conservation story in history, and offers hope that efforts to save many of our endangered species may not be in vain…..

European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Melanistic "black" rabbits occur quite regularly in some populations

Originally from south-west Europe and north-west Africa, Rabbits were introduced into Ireland by the Normans way back in the 12th century AD. They were kept in enclosed warrens and were used as a source of sport for Norman noblemen as well as exploited as a source of both meat and….

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncates)

Bottlenose Dolphins in Killiney Bay, Co. Dublin by Robert Kelly via the Ireland's Wildlife Flickr Group

Of the 24 species of whales and dolphins found in Irish waters perhaps the best known is the familiar bottlenose dolphin made famous in the ‘60s television show, Flipper. Almost all of the dolphin stars of film and television over the years, and the captive performing dolphins in theme parks….

Pine Marten (Martes martes)

The secretive and elusive pine marten was once found throughout Ireland, but a combination of habitat destruction, hunting for their skins and persecution by gamekeepers during the early part of the 20th century meant that by the 1950’s few martens survived. These days pine martens are protected and their fortunes….

Otter (Lutra lutra)

The otter -- Lutra lutra -- has its European stronghold in Ireland

Ireland is considered to have the healthiest otter population in Europe. Surveys show that otters are present in more than ninety percent of our inland waterways and coastal waters. The species, already extinct over much of its former range, is listed as “vulnerable to extinction” by the IUCN (International Union….

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Humpback whales are regular visitors to Ireland’s south and east coasts. These magnificent whales begin to appear around early September each year, and spend several months in the area before moving on to their winter breeding grounds. They are also occasionally sighted elsewhere around the Irish coast. Adult humpbacks are….

Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

The common dolphin is regularly encountered around the Irish coast. As its name suggests this is one of the most abundant and widely distributed dolphin species in the world, and occurs in all tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters with average surface temperatures above 10°C. They are often seen in large….

Brown Long-Eared Bat (Plecotus auritus)

The brown long-eared bat is one of the most common of our nine recorded bat species and is found all over Ireland. As night falls, these remarkable little mammals emerge from their daytime roosts to feed on a wide variety of nocturnal insects. As the name implies, long-eared bats have….

Pygmy Shrew (Sorex minutus)

As its name suggests the pygmy shrew is small. In fact at just 2.5 to 6g (0.09 to 0.2 oz) in weight it is by far Ireland’s smallest mammal and ranks as one of the smallest in the world. The pygmy shrew is our only shrew species, and along with….