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Please note that the Irish Wildlife Trust does not operate an animal rescue and rehabilitation service. If you find an injured animal in your garden or outside, please consult the following web resources, which provides information on what you should do and the veterinary and rehabilitation professionals you can contact:
Bats in your Roof
Bats are protected under law in Ireland under the Wildlife Act, 1974 and Wildlife Amendment Act, 2000. As such, it is an offence to disturb, injure or kill them or disturb or destroy their roosts. Therefore, if you wish to conduct any work or repairs in the roof, you will need to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service. (NPWS)
The NPWS have produced a useful leaflet, entitled “Bats in Houses – Guidance for Householders” which gives further information. See: http://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/Bats_in_Houses_leaflet.pdf
Please note that the Bat Helpline no. 1800 405 000 is no longer in service but you can contact the NPWS at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Foxes in your Garden
If you find a fox of a family of foxes living in your garden and wish to find out more about them, please see the information below.
The following websites also have some tips on how to "fox proof" your garden and information and details of deterrents:
Foxes are wild animals that generally shy away from humans. They are an important part of the natural ecosystem with their food source being insects, rats, mice and carcasses of dead animals.
Foxes cannot be relocated to other areas, such as the countryside, as they would be vulnerable in a territory unfamiliar to them. However, you could try using a deterrent, which may encourage the foxes to leave. There are several deterrents on the market, which have a varying degree of success. These could offer a short-term solution for this summer then once this year's litter has gone, the garden could be made more difficult for the fox to den in again next year. If you find any carcasses of foxes, please contact your local Council.
As foxes are nocturnal, they are generally seen at dusk or during the night. However, fox cubs maybe seen during the day in the summer months as they would be in their den at nighttime for safety. In September, the foxes born that year will also be looking for new territories and so maybe more visible during the daytime in September. The average life span of a fox is 15 months for males and 18 months for females, and the population of foxes in an area is governed by the amount of food that's available.
The reports of attacks on children by foxes have been sensationalised by the press an there is speculation over whether attacks by foxes are in fact true, or whether they have been depicted by the hunting lobby in England trying to re-instate fox hunting. Of the case reported in 2013, fox experts have relayed this is the first time they have heard of a case of a fox harming a child. In other previous reports it was found to be cats that had harmed the children and not foxes. As far as we are aware, there have been no reports of foxes harming children in Ireland.
The reports of attacks of foxes killing cats are also generally found to be untrue. Foxes may kill kittens or very old or ill cats but cats have also been found to kill fox cubs. In the vast majority of cat-fox interactions, the cat wins. If you are concerned that your cat is still at risk, it would be advisable to not put out any food, including cat food, in the garden in case this attracts the foxes. I would also ask your neighbours to not put out any food and explain that you are concerned by the presence of foxes. There is also more information about the contraction of diseases between foxes and cats on http://www.thefoxwebsite.net.