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Book Review: Tracks and Signs of the Animals and Birds of Britain and Europe

Animal Tracks & Signs

There are no two ways about it, a lot of our wildlife is incredibly tricky to see. You can get lucky, of course. Occasionally birds, and even mammals, lizards or amphibians, will appear out of nowhere, seemingly oblivious to your presence as you marvel them in close proximity. These are,….

Friends in high places: red squirrels, grey squirrels and pine martens

Irish pine marten populations recovering

There are two squirrel species found in Ireland.  The native red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, and the invasive North American grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis.  In Ireland, the UK and Italy the grey squirrel threatens the survival of the red squirrel as the effects of competition and disease from grey squirrels almost….

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….

The history of the Red Squirrel in Ireland

Red Squirrel in Co. Waterford, Ireland

The red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is one of our most charismatic species, found in woodlands in many parts of Ireland and is an animal that warms the hearts of those lucky enough to observe it. In recent years the decline of the red squirrel has been associated with the spread….

Watching the wild deer of Wicklow

Watching deer in Ireland takes patience and practice

With the Autumn deer rut in full swing Environmental Biologist David O’Brien takes us on a journey into the hills of county Wicklow in search of wild deer, and offers advice on how to watch these shy and elusive animals [CJ]. Now that we are in the middle of the….

Have you seen a dormouse in Ireland?

Hazel Dormouse Ireland

If you have, then researchers at NUI Galway want to hear from you. The hazel dormouse (also know as the common dormouse) was discovered living in Ireland very recently, most likely introduced from the UK or Europe. NUI Galway is conducting a survey to discover where they can be found and….

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….

Book Review: Wolves in Ireland

Wolves… the very word evokes a sense of wonder, admiration and fascination, albeit tempered with a healthy undercurrent of instinctive apprehension. Awe and fear: that’s a pretty evocative combination. When I heard about “Wolves in Ireland – A natural and cultural history” by Kieran Hickey, published by Four Courts Press,….

Leisler’s Bat (Nyctalus leisleri)

Leisler’s bats are considered rare throughout their European range, except here in Ireland, where the species is common and widespread. The Irish Leisler’s bat population is the biggest in Europe, and Ireland is a significant European stronghold for this, our largest bat species. Although it is our biggest bat, Leisler’s….

Ireland’s Mammals book review

  Did you know that Ireland’s largest mammal is the blue whale – the largest animal ever to have lived on earth. This oceanic leviathan weighs in at over 100 tonnes (or about the same as 33 African elephants, if you’re counting) and can be up to a staggering 33.5….