Mikey The Skunk lives inside the trunk. He saves his biggest bottom blows for Vinny the Virus when he drives past in his green mini and for mean humans. He has big plans for his ‘scent’ business and Christmas selection boxes of chocolate bottom burps.

Let’s Meet Our

Animal Friends

 

The Wildlife of Dublin Bay

Badger

Badgers have black and white stripes.  They are nocturnal which means they only come out at night.  They make their homes by digging tunnels and caves underground.  This is called a sett. 

Barn Owl

Barn Owls are a bird of prey.  These beautiful birds need to be protected as there are less and less of them every year in Ireland.  Their bellies are snow white in colour.

Barnacle

Barnacles are a crustacean, which means they have a hard outer shell.  They are cousins of lobsters and crabs.  You can see barnacles on the rocky shore in the Biosphere.  They also live on large whales or underneath big ships.  Barnacles feed when they are covered in water – they use their legs to sweep tiny pieces of food into their mouth parts.  

Bat

Here in Dublin, we have 8 different species of bat, including the Pipistrelle bat which can eat 3500 midges in one evening.  Pipistrelles weigh less than a one Euro coin.

Bee

Bumble Bees flap their wings 200 times in one second.  Bees are really important pollinators and are one of the most precious creatures on our planet. 

Brent Goose

Brent Geese travel thousands of kilometres from Arctic Canada every year to visit the lush seagrass and grasslands in Dublin Bay for the winter. This is a dangerous journey across stormy seas and frozen land that they must make twice a year!  We love to hear the noise of them arriving.

Brown Crab

The Brown Crab never sleeps, it never even closes its eyes.  When night falls the Brown Crab comes out to nibble at its favourite food, barnacles.

Buzzard

Buzzards were nearly extinct in Ireland, but numbers have recovered now.  They eat all kinds of animals, especially mice and rabbits.

Cockle Seashell

Cockles also have two shells like mussels and scallops.  Cockles and mussels can be heard in the Dublin song ‘Molly Molone’.  You can sometime see their shells washed up on Dollymount Beach.

Dragonfly

Dragonflies are 300 million old.  They do not sting and usually do not bite people.  They are one of the strongest fliers in the insect world.

Flatfish

As their name suggests, flat fish look flat and have both eyes lying on the same side of their head!  They live on the sea floor and have markings that act as camouflage to help them blend into the background.  Flatfish also bury themselves in the sand with just their eyes peeping out so they can catch prey and avoid predators.

Fox

Foxes are a dog-like carnivore with red fur and long bushy tails.  Foxes eat a range of foods including mice, rats, rabbits, birds, insects and berries.  They will sometimes store any extra food in a cache.  Foxes have excellent hearing. 

Leatherback Turtle

Visiting the tree from the Pacific Ocean, Leatherback Turtles are the largest of the sea turtles and can weigh up to 907 kilograms. They are the world’s fastest moving reptile because they swim so quickly. They are the only turtle not to have a hard shell. Instead, they have a tough leathery shell with ridges. Group

Lizard

The Common Lizard visits the tree regularly but lives in North Bull Island where it loves to sunbathe. It is Ireland’s only native reptile and protected by Irish law so if you see one do not disturb it. 

Lobster

Lobsters have big claws to catch their prey. Their teeth are in their stomachs, not in their mouths. They can live to 100 years old if they stay in the sea.

Starfish

Starfish have no brain and no blood and they can regrow a leg if they lose one.  A starfish is not a fish because it does not have gills, scales or fins, and is related to sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

Swan

Swans are a large, beautiful white bird that you can see gliding across ponds and lakes. Their babies are called cygnets. Swans are very special birds and appear in many fairy tales.

Turtle

Turtles travel a long way to visit the Tree and their friends in Dublin Bay. They travel all around the Atlantic Ocean using the marine currents like slip streams. Turtles can live for a very long time and lived on Earth when there were dinosaurs.

Short Eared Owl

He comes from Russia and Scandinavia in winter to live in the warmer weather of Ireland. These owls can fly vast distances over land and water up to 1900 kilometres. You can sometimes see them out hunting during the daytime.

Spiny Seahorse

He visits the Tree when he is on holiday from his eelgrass habitat. Seahorses are poor swimmers and use their tail to latch on to eelgrass and seaweed. They have one partner all their lives and they dance every morning together.

Squid

The Squid around Dublin Bay are a grey transparent or reddish colour. They have ten limbs surrounding their mouth, eight short arms and two long with tentacles. These are used to catch prey.

Rabbit

Rabbits have cushions on their feet to allow them to jump so high. This jump is called a binky. They live in tunnels that they have dug called warrens.

Ray

Rays have no bones. They have a skeleton made from cartilage, which can also be found in parts of the human body, including our nose, ears and knees. They have flat bodies and large wing shaped fins.

Scallop

– Scallops are soft bodied animals that are surrounded by two fan-shaped shells. Scallops can swim by opening and closing their shells really quickly, which shoots out water and propels them through the water. They also have little light sensing eyes around the rim of their shell so they can see where they are going!

Minkle Whale

The Minke whale is often called “Stinky Minky” because of the bad smell from the spout. They are as loud as a jet plane when they are communicating.

Mouse

Mice have supersonic hearing and can jump half a meter into the air. They can squeeze through the tiniest gaps. They love to explore and are greedy eaters.

Octopus

Octopuses have 9 brains and 3 hearts. They also have blue blood. They are one of the cleverest animals on earth and are great at solving puzzles.

Long Eared Owl

The Long Eared Owl gets its name from the long ear tufts on its head but these are in fact pieces of skin covered in feathers and not the owl’s ears. Owls have faces shaped like a disk that helps capture sound. They do not make their own nests – instead, they recycle the nests of other birds and squirrels.

Marsh Fritillary Butterfly

Butterflies are great pollinators. The Marsh Fritillary Butterfly is Ireland’s only protected butterfly and is found on Bull Island in our Biosphere. They have an orange and cream square pattern on their wings.

Merlin

Merlins are the smallest falcons in Ireland. They are fierce little hunters. They travel for the winter from the mountains and return to the mountains to breed.

Heron

This huge bird has a wingspan of two metres.  If you look up high in St. Annes Park you may see a heronry.  This is a where a group of herons live. 

Jellyfish

Jellyfish have no brains, heart, bones or blood.  They can be scary creatures that can give you a bad sting, but they can also be beautiful.  One jellyfish is called the Immortal Jellyfish as it can reproduce itself and live forever!

Kestrel

The Kestrel is a small falcon.  They can see ultraviolet light so they can spot urine trails.  This way they can catch their supper easily.  They hover over their prey before the swoop down to catch it.

Harbour Porpoise

Porpoises are a small toothed whale.  You can see them swim in the water by looking out for their dark triangle-shaped fin.  In Irish, porpoises are called Muc Mhara which means Sea Pig.

Harbour Seal

Harbour Seals can be seen across Dublin Bay.  They often rest with their head and tail in the air at the same time, looking just like a banana.  They move slowly on land, so they stay close to the water in case they need to make a quick exit. 

Hare

A male Hare is called a Jack and a female hare is called a Jill.  They have long ears.  Irish Hare are much larger than rabbits and the female is a littler larger than the male. 

Green Shore Crab

Green Shore Crabs live in the rocky shores of Dublin Bay, and you can often find them when you go rock pooling.  When crabs are growing their shell does not grow with them, so they have to grow a new, bigger shell and shed their old shell.

Grey Seal

We have two species of seal in Dublin Bay.  The grey seal is the larger of the two species that can be seen regularly on Dollymount Beach.  Seals have a streamlined body shape and flippers that help them swim and turn in the water with ease. 

Grey Squirrel

The Grey Squirrel can jump up to 6 meters in length and they pretend to bury their food to put other animals off the track of where they keep their food stash.

Common Dolphin

Did you know that dolphins are marine mammals and are related to whales, but not fish?  Dolphins are very clever and use echolocation (where they use echoes from soundwaves to locate objects and other animals) to find their prey.  They communicate using whistles and clicks.  We are very lucky to have 26 different species of whales and dolphins that are found in Irish waters.

Hooded Crow

Members of the crow family, such as crows, rooks and ravens are really clever birds.  They have been known to use twigs as tools.  They also have a good memory and can even remember human faces!

Curlew

The Curlew has a long beak and makes a strange “curlooo-oo” sound.  They use their beaks to search for worms and molluscs in soft soil/mud.

Dog Whelk Seashell

Whelks are part of a family of marine snails.  Dog Whelk live in rocky shores around Dublin Bay and are carnivores.  Their shells can sometimes be found on the beach in Dollymount.

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