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Animals in Ireland

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Ireland is a country that is well known for its people and its beautiful green landscape. Yet Ireland is not usually associated with being a location that is full of wild animals. In fact, Ireland holds the distinction of being the country with the LEAST amount of dangerous animals on earth.

Visitors to Ireland are very unlikely to be mauled by a tiger or attacked by a bear but they might still see some animals that call the Emerald Isle their home. As a vast and lush landscape, Ireland actually has many animals that thrive in its rivers and on its fields. Birds, frogs, otters, rabbits and many other animals are year-long residents in Ireland that are often viewed with affection by both natives and tourists.

Below is a list of five animals that are commonly seen in Ireland. Some of these creatures are specific to certain locations while others tend to be more widespread.

Sheep
Sheep Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Sheep

Sheep are ever-present in the Irish countryside. In fact, it has been estimated that there are more sheep in Ireland than people! Sheep’s wool is extremely useful as is their meat. The animals thrive on the lush grass that grows in Ireland so they have been kept on the land for centuries.

Magpies
Magpies Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Magpies

Magpies are black and white birds, somewhat akin to crows and ravens, that are widespread throughout Ireland. Crows feast on grains and seeds in fields and they will also scavenge for dead meat. Magpies are also incredibly attracted to shiny things and they have been known to steal things like wedding rings to put in their nests!

Seals
Seals Mario Tama/Getty Images

Seals

Seals are frequently seen in Ireland, especially in calm waters such as those in Donegal Bay. Seals like cold water and the cool temperatures in Ireland (even in the summer it rarely goes above the 70s) make the water ideal for seals.

Swans
Swans Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Swans

Swans, specifically mute swans, are beautiful white water fowl that are found in many Irish lakes, rivers, ponds and even—occasionally—the ocean. Swans graze on seaweed and minerals in the water and they thrive easily in Ireland’s landscape.

Puffins
Puffins Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Puffins

Puffins are adorable and unique looking birds that have thick bills and webbed feet. Puffins like to nest in mountainous rocky regions and there are large colonies of the birds at Skellig Michael (also known as Great Skellig) in County Kerry. The puffins are so adored that people sometimes travel thousands of miles to take a tour of the location just to catch a glimpse of the birds.

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