Animal Specialists British and Irish

Unique Animals Native to Ireland

Due to the rising sea levels from the Ice Age, there are only 26 land mammal species that are native to Ireland.

Ireland Red Fox1Red Fox: The red fox is the largest of the foxes, and is most common in countries throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The red fox is Ireland’s only member of the Candiae family. They are highly adaptive animals as they live in woodland areas, the countryside, mountainous areas, along the coast, farmland, and even urban areas. Even though they are considered pests, as they can prey on local poultry, they aren not considered endangered in Ireland. The red fox population in urban areas is not a threat to domestic pets.


 

 

 

 

Ireland Hedgehog3Hedgehog: It is believed that hedgehogs have been in Ireland, specifically County Waterford, since the 13th century, when the Normans arrived. Hedgehogs are non-territorial, nocturnal animals. Hedgehogs are most at risk from humans. Thousands of hedgehogs are killed every year due to traffic, as well as mechanical machines such as lawn mowers. They are also commonly killed in bonfires, as they mistake unlit bonfires for a safe habitat, as well as drowning. For the most part, hedgehogs mainly live in the countryside.


 

 

 

 

Badger1Badger: Many people believed that badgers were introduced to Ireland during the Neolithic period, but this is uncertain. Now, badgers are found throughout Europe, but are mainly residential to Ireland. They can be found in the countryside, grasslands, hedgerows, and woodland. According to the Badger and Habitat Survey of Ireland (1995) discovered that 35% of badger setts are in hedgerows, 19% are in scrubs, and 18% are in woodland habitats. Although badgers pose little threat to agriculture in Ireland, badger-baiting is still quite popular. Badger-baiting is an animal sport where badgers are baited with dogs. This usually ends with the badger dying.


Irish Hare1Irish Hare: The Irish hare has been in Ireland since the late Pleistocene era due to fossil remains that have been found throughout the country. These sites include the Shandon and Ballinamintra Caves, County Waterford, the Coffey and Plunkett Caves, County Sligo, Alice and Gwendoline, and the Newhall and Bartnick Caves. The Irish hare has been legally protected in the Republic of Ireland since 1930 attributable to several causes such as the Wildlife Act of 1976 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act of 2000. The Irish hare is also listed on Appendix III of the Berne Convention as an internationally important species in the Irish Red Data Book.


Red Deer1Red Deer: The red deer is Ireland’s biggest land mammal. They are herbivores and live in both woodland and grassland areas. The red deer has been living in Eurasia for the last 200,00 years, but it is believed that they have been present in Ireland 12,000 years ago, before they became extinct during the last ice age after being re-introduced by Neolithic settlers. In the 18th century, the red deer population declined due to decrease of woodland area because of humans. However, in the 19th century, the population increased because of a re-introduction of deer parks.