Wildlife at Cavan Adventure Centre

March 03, 2024

As part of World Wildlife Day, we thought we’d share some information about some of the wildlife we’re lucky enough to see regularly here at Cavan Adventure Centre. We’re part of a Special Area of Conservation. This means we are located in a prime wildlife conservation area, considered to be important on a European as well as Irish level.

Red squirrel

Very often, when Nuala is hosting a yoga session on our woodlands yoga platform, the same cheeky red squirrel appears and circles the class. Red squirrels are incredibly curious creatures so it’s no wonder this little chap is keen to join in the yoga sessions here at Cavan Adventure Centre! Red squirrels grow up to 23cm in height with a distinctive bushy tail of between 15 and 20cm. Their coat becomes a lighter colour in the warmer summer months. Here in the woodlands surrounding Cavan Adventure Centre, we often see our red squirrel population scampering along branches at high speeds. They are incredible acrobats and leap from tree to tree. They are also great engineers, using twigs, bark and leaves to build round nests called dreys. The red squirrel lives for up to six years, and usually has around three to six young per litter, in summer time. If you spot a red squirrel here at Cavan Adventure Centre, you might notice its eyes are on the side of its head so it can watch out for predators! Contrary to popular belief, the red squirrel doesn’t hibernate in winter. It does store food in the autumn to help it survive the winter months. The red squirrel is protected under the Wildlife Act (1976) and Wildlife (Amendment) Acts (2000 & 2010) and the Bern Convention (Appendix III).

Badger

We are lucky enough to have a large badger sett on site here at Cavan Adventure Centre. At our recent Bushcraft Camp, Brian was delighted to show the children the sett and share some interesting facts about badgers. The sett here had been abandoned for a number of years but a family of badgers moved back in a few years ago and remain very active, using the various entrances and underground tunnels to go about their business. Badgers are a powerful, stocky animal with distinctive colouring. They are widespread throughout Cavan and indeed much of Ireland, but because they are mainly nocturnal and incredibly secretive, they are seldom encountered in the wild. Badger setts can have as many as 20 chambers and are often used by many generations of the same badger family, each next generation enlarging the sett. Badgers usually live in groups of between six and ten individuals and are typically headed by a dominant male and female. We are privileged to have an active badger sett here at Cavan Adventure Centre and take great steps to ensure the site is undisturbed and preserved. Badgers are protected under the Wildlife Acts (Wildlife Act, 1976; Wildlife Amendment Act, 2000), and in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (N.I.) Order of 1985. Also protected under Appendix III of the Berne Convention.

Hare

It is a pleasure to look out the window of Inishmore Yoga and Meditation Studio in the early morning and see a family of hares playing in the fields below. The Irish hare is one of our most ancient species with fossils indicating the species has been around since the Late Pleistocene , which is defined as taking place as long as 129,000 and 11,700 years ago. Females are slightly bigger than males and as such, dominate for most of the year. During breeding season hares seen ‘boxing’ are likely to be a female boxing a male. The Irish hare is legally protected since 1930 in the Republic of Ireland, initially under the Game Preservation Act (1930), then by the Wildlife Act (1976) and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000. It is listed on Appendix III of the Berne Convention, Annex V(a) of the EC Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and as an internationally important species in the Irish Red Data Book.

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