Enjoy a peek at some of the diverse wildlife we are lucky to have!

The Sliabh Fuait area is stunning in its natural beauty and has huge tourism, recreational and leisure potential. It has good modern road links but also reserves much of its traditional charm with narrow country lanes, rolling hills, rivers, streams and lakes. Carrickatuke viewpoint is at the centre of the area and offers stunning views over much of Ulster, from Carlingford Lough to the Sperrins and beyond. 

You can learn lots more about this area by doing our self-driving tour which you can access here. 

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Wildlife – Fiadhúlra

Red Squirrel – Iora Rua

  • The average life span of a red squirrel is 5-10 years but most don’t reach their first birthday due to disease or predation. 
  • They have a top speed of 22.5km/h. 
  • Red squirrels are usually most active during the morning or late afternoon. This is when they eat the most food. In spring and summer, they remain resting in their nests around midday to escape the extreme heat. In winter, this midday rest is likely to be very short or missed entirely. 
  • Red squirrels spend the majority of their time up in the trees but they come to the ground to search for food and to bury food items. 
  • Red squirrels eat mostly the seeds from trees, and will neatly strip conifer cones to obtain the seeds, nuts (particularly hazelnuts but also chestnuts and beech), berries, and young shoots. They occasionally eat bird eggs or chicks. 
  • Red squirrels thrive where there are pine martens as the pine martens are natural predators of the grey squirrel. They are unable to reach the heights of the red squirrels nest so this means there are less grey squirrels to kill the red squirrels.

MATING SEASON – February-March, June-July

GESTATION PERIOD – 36-40 days

NUMBER OF YOUNG – 3-5 kittens

INDEPENDENT AGE – 7 weeks

FEMALE NAME – doe

MALE NAME – buck

BABY NAME – pup, kit, kitten

Pine Marten – Cat Crainn

  • The average lifespan of a pine marten is 10-17 years
  • Formerly common in Great Britain, now it is found just in Ireland and northern parts of mainland Britain. This animal prefers forest habitats, such as deciduous, coniferous and mixed forest.
  • Pine martens are mostly active at night and during dusk. Their preferred nesting sites are hollow trees, and one individual has a few nests within its home range.
  • Pine martens are omnivorous. They mainly eat rodents, birds, fruit and insects.
  • A group of Pine martens is called a ‘richness’.
  • Pine martens play an important role in their ecosystem: the seeds they eat as part of their varied diet are eventually dispersed throughout the forest by way of faeces. In addition, their presence is often used as an indicator of conditions of environment as they are dependent on food found in mature coniferous forests, and do not reside in burned or clear-cut forest areas.

MATING SEASON – July-August

GESTATION PERIOD – 8 months

NUMBER OF YOUNG – 2-5 kits

INDEPENDENT AGE – 6 weeks

BABY NAME – kit

Sparrowhawk – Spioróg

  • The average life span for a male sparrowhawk is 7-8 years whereas the female can live for 10-11 years.
  • The sparrowhawk is an exceptionally agile hunter, often using hedges, woodland rides and buildings as cover to launch surprise attacks on small birds.
  • Commonly seen hunting in woodland, farmland with woods, larger parks and rural and urban gardens. Builds stick nests in wooded areas.
  • Female sparrowhawks are typically 25% larger than males, but often twice as heavy. Because of the size difference, male sparrowhawks court the females with caution, as the female can (and sometimes does) kill her suitor.
  • Like all birds of prey, sparrowhawks are vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. The species was virtually wiped out in Eastern England in the 1960s due to DDT either killing them or rendering them infertile.
  • Sparrowhawk chicks hatch when there are plenty of fledgling small birds around

MATING SEASON – May

INCUBATION PERIOD – 32-35 days

NUMBER OF EGGS – 3-6 Laid over 2 days

INDEPENDENT AGE – Begin to leave the nest for short periods at 4 weeks old

Fox – Sionnach 

  • Average life span of a fox is 4-6 years in the wild
  • Males weigh on average 7kg with females being only slightly shorter and weighing 6kg when fully grown.
  • Foxes are highly adaptive mammals that can inhabit any type of land area, they are traditionally associated with woodland and open countryside but can be found from lowlands up to mountainous areas, along the coast, in farmland and more recently in urban areas. No one habitat type is preferred as they will hunt and scavenge most food sources in an area providing disturbance of their den is not excessive
  • They are highly opportunistic feeders who use a variety of hunting techniques. Species which they have a preference for include rabbits, young hares, rats, mice, hedgehogs, pigeons and ground nesting birds, when such prey items become scarce they will supplement their diet by foraging for earthworms, beetles, crickets and insect larvae. Apples and blackberries are also eaten on occasion. 
  • In rural areas they will eat carrion of dead sheep and deer which they find, they also have a preference for lamb after-birth in spring. In urban areas they will investigate any rubbish heaps and dust bins they can gain access to.
  • Foxes are largely monogamous and can live in small groups comprising of one adult male, one dominant vixen and several younger non breeding females

MATING SEASON – Starts mid January ends March

GESTATION PERIOD – 50 days

NUMBER OF YOUNG – 4-6 cubs

INDEPENDENT AGE – 6-7 months

BABY NAME – Cub

Hare – Giorria 

  • Maximum life span is around 9 years old but most mortality is with juveniles. 
  • Irish hare are much larger than rabbits, females tending to be a little larger than males (adults weigh between 3–3.6kg). Females hence dominate males throughout the year.
  • During the breeding season hares seen ‘boxing’ are likely to be a female boxing a male.
  • The coat of the Irish hare can be quite variable but generally it is russet brown. However, much darker and lighter individuals have also been recorded.
  • Unlike other mountain hares the Irish hare very rarely moult to white in the winter. Nevertheless, hares with large areas of white, sometimes piebald in appearance have been observed. Few Irish hares turn completely white but all white specimens have been reported and some have gained a place in folklore.
  • Irish hares do not use dens but will make forms in sheltered locations. Forms are shallow depressions, often in dense vegetation such as rushes, heather, tall grass and even marram grass, and occasionally in hedgerows. Forms can also be used on bare peat or soil (for example in ploughed fields).
  • The Irish hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus) is one of three lagomorphs found on the Island of Ireland and the only native lagomorph.

MATING SEASON – Breed throughout the year with most young being born in spring and summer

GESTATION PERIOD – 52 Days

NUMBER OF YOUNG – 1-3

INDEPENDENT AGE – approx. 21 days

BABY NAME – Leveret