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Friday, November 23rd 2012

To follow us on Twitter, use the handle @MooneyShow, to follow Marty Morrissey use the handle @MartyM_RTE, and to follow Brenda Donohue use the handle @BrendaDonohue

On today's Mooney, with Marty Morrissey,

We reveal how the dormouse of Kildare may in fact not be the only one in the county. If you thought variations in intellectual ability was strictly a human phenomenon, think again! Amazing new research demonstrates huge variations in the intelligence of birds. We find out how a group of Columbus crabs survived a barrel ride across the Atlantic Ocean, turning up in County Kerry! And as news emerges of the British Army using live pigs as war victims in training exercises, we explore the history of military uses for animals!

The Dormice Of Kildare

As reported on the news last night, a little hazel dormouse was found two weeks ago near Newbridge in County Kildare. It’s thought to be a male and it will now hibernate at the Kildare Animal Foundation, rather than in the wild, as it is a non-native species.

Dormice are probably the cutest member of the rodent family and are often mistaken for baby red squirrels. It is the first dormouse that has been actually captured in Ireland but the first official sighting of them was two years ago near Naas.

And today we can reveal even MORE dormice at a Kildare location just two miles from the site where the first dormouse was captured. Dr Ferdia Marnell is Head of Animal Ecology at the National Parks and Wildlife Service and he joins Marty in studio; and Marty is also joined on the phone by Mooney Goes Wild listener Martha McNally, who wants to tell us about the dormice near her in Kildare…

Columbus Crabs In Kerry

We get all sorts of visitors to Ireland. Humans, butterflies, birds... But then there are less frequent visitors. The kinds of visitors that the wildlife community gets excited about. Seldom-seen species who decide to come-a-calling to us.

The Columbus Crabs who arrived in Kerry recently may not have come here of their own volition, however. Rather the Gulf Stream decided they should leave the Bermuda Triangle and sent them in the direction of Ireland.

But they didn’t take a boat or a plane. They arrived on... a barrel! Kevin Flannery is Director of the OceanWorld aquarium in Dingle and joins us from our Cork studio to explain more...

Kate Hall (Penguin Keeper), Kevin Flannery (Director) and Sarah Hegarty (Head Aquarist)
Kate Hall (Penguin Keeper), Kevin Flannery (Director) and Sarah Hegarty (Head Aquarist)

Kate Hall (Penguin Keeper), Kevin Flannery (Director) and Sarah Hegarty (Head Aquarist)
Kate Hall (Penguin Keeper), Kevin Flannery (Director) and Sarah Hegarty (Head Aquarist)

Bird Intelligence

Oscar Wilde boasted endlessly about his wit and intelligence. But if you thought that variations in intelligence and intellectual ability were strictly a human thing, think again! Seemingly, even within specific animal species, levels of intelligence can vary enormously! Dr John Quinn is a Lecturer in Ecology at University College Cork, and he’s done some amazing research into this phenomenon. He joins Marty from our Cork studio today...

App Article: Hedgehogs (by Richard Collins)

It’s now November, but a hedgehog still patrols our area at night. This late in the year, he should be tucked up in bed for the long winter sleep. However, weather patterns are changing, the nights are becoming milder and this seems to suit our prickly friend.


To find out more, download the Mooney app, for iPhone and Android phones, to read the rest of Richard's article, and much more!

Animals In Warfare

Some disturbing news emerged during the week about British army surgeons using live pigs to simulate battlefield injuries during training exercises. According to reports, the pigs are anaesthetised, subjected to battle wounds, and then carried off the battlefield on stretchers by Army medical teams. Army surgeons then carry out operations as they would on a normal battlefield.

Needless to say, animal-rights groups are up in arms, describing the practice as "impossible to justify medically, ethically and educationally".

Some might say the name given to the operation was just a little tasteless as well; the British army dubbed the practice "Operation Danish Bacon".

Well, tasteless and ethically dubious it might be! But it is far from the first example of animals being used, shall we say, "creatively" for military purposes.

The U.S. Navy, for example, has its own special "Marine mammal training operation", where it trains dolphins and sea Lions to detect mines.

So, pigs as war victims. Sea Lions as mine detectors. The military can be very creative, when it suits them! Military analyst, Tom Clonan, can testify to that, as he explains to Marty today...

Blood, Sweat And Tears: An Irish Soldier's Story Of Love And Loss by Tom Clonan is published by Liberties Press; the RRP is €14.99. For more information about the book, click here.

World's Leggiest Insect

Our panel today start by chatting about the world's leggiest lovely who, surprise surprise, has been found in California! The Illacme plenipes millipede measures around 3cm long, but manages to squeeze in a massive 750 legs!

Mooney Tunes

Mooney Tunes 7 will take place in the National Concert Hall on December 18th. The show will start at 8 PM, as usual. This concert has already sold out. In fact, it actually sold out on the day Derek announced it, a couple of weeks ago. HOWEVER, we are still looking for suggestions for this concert - pieces of music that you would like included. We've had quite a few e-mails already, but we are always open to hearing new stories, and inventive musical suggestions.

Because of the extraordinary demand for tickets, we've decided to organise a separate concert for the afternoon of the same day, December 18th. A full matinee concert, with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and selected performers.

It's going to be a different concert from the evening show, with a different selection of music, and it's going to be just the thing for anybody doing their Christmas shopping in the morning time, in Dublin city centre, and who fancies a fabulous musical diversion in the afternoon!

We will be selecting a different program for the afternoon show. Different from the evening show. There might be a couple of pieces in common, but by and large, distinctive shows.

Mooney Tunes Matinee
• December 18th at 3:30pm
• Prices are €15, €20, €25
• To contact the Box Office call 01 417-0000 or visit www.nch.ie

Send us in your choice of music, and why you would like it to be included, to mooney@rte.ie or to:

RTÉ Radio Centre
Dublin 4

The Island Landscape

RTÉ Television, in association with Mooney, is currently producing a major new documentary series on the history of the Irish landscape. The series will tell the story of how our landscape was created after the last major climatic event – the end of the last Ice Age, over ten thousand years ago.  And we want your help! Would you like to contribute video towards the TV series? Click here to find out what we're looking for!

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