Here’s a list of pretty cool Irish animal facts in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day! They’ve been compiled by the zoologists at itvWILD.com which offers the general public free access to 1000’s of clips of wildlife and natural history content. It’s one of the largest wildlife and natural history programming libraries in the world. Be sure to check it out 🙂
o Contrary to popular belief, St Patrick did not rid Ireland of snakes, in fact there have never been any snakes in the Emerald Isle. There are very few snake-less parts of the world but they all have one thing in common – they are surrounded by water! Zoologist have speculated that Ireland split off from England before snakes ever evolved meaning out slithery friends would have needed to migrated across the open ocean, which no serpent has ever successfully managed to do.
o ‘Slats’ was the first lion to roar for MGM movies. He was born in Dublin Zoo
o The prehistoric Irish elk was one of the largest deer to ever have lived. It stood 7ft tall at the shoulders and its antlers grew up to 12ft across and weighed 90 pounds. It died out around 7,700 years ago
o The Irish hare can reach speeds of up to 30 mph and jumpy as high as two metres.
o The Irish Wolfhound is the largest breed of dog in the world. References to it date back to A.D600-900. The tallest recorded Wolfhound stood at 39.5 inches (over 3ft) at the shoulder
o Having been extinct for 100’s of years, the Wild Boar is making a comeback in Ireland, with several sightings since 2009. Its reappearance has been given a very mixed reception, as it is seen as destructive and dangerous by many. The Irish Wolf was traditionally the boar’s natural predator, but with its absence in the natural habitat, the boar is free to roam unchecked
o The ‘Irish Crocodile’ or Doyarchu, is a mythical beast described as half dog/half otter, said to live in Ireland’s lakes and to attack dogs and people. It is sometimes referred to as a baby Loch Ness monster
o Turtles, sharks, whales and dolphins are all common off the coast of Ireland, and the town of Dingle is named for the dolphins that live in the water around it
o The last wolf in Ireland was killed by a farmer in 1786
o The giant squid has been reported five times in Irish waters
o Legend has it that the Irish Connemara pony is descended from Spanish horses, rescued from the Armada when the ships wrecked on the rocky coast of western Ireland in 1588
This will be my only post for today because I have 2 super hard finals tomorrow (and then spring break)! So close yet sooo far…. wish me luck!