Mooney, Friday July 26th 2013

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Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

Events & Listings

Click here for a full list of events taking place around the country, and movies currently on release, which might be of interest to wildlife lovers!



Derek Mooney with his unique mix of conversation, information, advice and entertainment.

We find out about the unpredictable cycle of the Titan Arum - also known as the "stinky plant" - and why it's currently flowering in Washington. We learn how older male beetles make better fathers. And: close encounters of the reptilian kind - we chat to the Dubliner who encountered a snake in his bathroom!

Eanna's Beef With The AA!

Eanna's Beef With The AA!

Eanna ni Lamhna is incensed today! When she went to fill out her AA Survey, she discovered that bees, ants and wasps were described as pests! Conor Faughnan, Director of Policy with AA Ireland, joins us on the line to tell us why the AA are surveying people about bees and ants, and why wasps are pests!

Bathroom Snake In Drumcondra

Bathroom Snake In Drumcondra

During the week we got a very interesting e-mail into the office from a chap called Paul Wade, in Drumcondra in Dublin:

We were up in Donegal for the weekend, and arrived home at 7.30ish on Sunday night. At 8.30ish, I thought I would visit the throne room with my Sunday paper ... I walked into the bog, and there was a SNAKE wrapped around the taps and plug chain on the sink - I kid you not, a great big SNAKE!! It was at least 5 feet long, black with white markings.

This morning, producer Pat O’Mahony went to meet Paul at his home in Drumcondra this morning to find out all about his serpentine encounter!

Kevin Cunningham is from the National Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Ballivor in County Meath, and he came to the rescue in Paul's hour of need. This afternoon, Kevin joins us on the line from the sanctuary to tell us more about the snake rescue!

Click here to read the NEAS Guide to dealing with various exotic animals.

Older Male Burying Beetles Make Better Dads!

Mature male burying beetles make better fathers than their younger counterparts. That’s one of the findings of research by Exeter University’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation published in the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society of London.

Nicrophorus vespilloides, one of the burying beetles studied by Dr. Megan Head

One of the big puzzles of evolutionary biology is why males care for offspring that aren’t theirs. To explain, Derek is joined from the BBC studios in London by Dr Megan Head, Doctor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Exeter... To find out more, you can read this statement from the University of Exeter, or visit the website of Dr. Megan Head.

Stinky Flowers!

Ant-like lines have been weaving their way about the United States Botanic Gardens Conservatory in Washington... the lines are not ants or tropical beetles, but curious humans coming in their tens of thousands every day to see a giant phallus-like and smelly flower, the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum).

Ari Novy is a plant scientist and Public Programmes Manager at the Botanic Gardens, and he joins Derek and the panel on the line today from Washington!

The flower is now collapsing, and entering a dormant stage; the Botanic Gardens in Washington have set up a webcam focusing on flower, and you view the webcam, and find out lots more about the titan arum, by visiting their website


Grass-Growing Gutters: A Report By Terry Flanagan

Peter Nolan from Templeogue got in touch this week, to say that he had an unusual problem. The gutters on the back of the house are full of grass and weeds - yet none of his neighbours have any.

He has a theory as to why this is so, and he asked us to come out to see his weeds, and to assess his theory.

We sent Terry Flanagan along to find out more…

Gerald Kean's Insect Bite

Gerald Kean's Insect Bite

If you were listening yesterday, you’ll have heard Mary Kingston’s "yukky" report about parasites like Bilharzia and Tissue Myiasis, and Larvae Migraines, and other such tropical illnesses that you can pick up abroad.

Well, no sooner had we done the report than we heard that celebrity lawyer Gerald Kean was in hospital after getting an insect bite while on holidays in Portugal...

This afternoon, Gerald joins us on the line from his hospital bed in Blackrock clinic...

Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.

UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:

Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed

BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted.  It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.

Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made.  This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.

The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:

(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).

The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.

BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal.  In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service ( to report such activity.

BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.

To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.


Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.

If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit


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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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