My dad went rat catching and caught what look like pygmy shrews

Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Eithne Viney

In an Offaly shed - a dead white-toothed shrew

In an Offaly shed - a dead white-toothed shrew

 

My father has been catching rats and mice in and around his shed for decades, but this year he caught five of these creatures for the first time ever. Are they pygmy shrews? Other people around west Offaly have noticed the same visitors in recent weeks.

Martin Egan, Ferbane, Co Offaly

A. This is the greater white-toothed shrew, a recent arrival in this country. They were first found in Tipperary in 2007 and have since spread. They are known to frequent farmyards.

Knot on Bull Island
Knot on Bull Island

On my morning walk, Bull Island’s inner flats were crowded with knot, flashing alternately bright white and dull grey. They moved across the mud almost invisibly except for their jerky movement like old, flickering, black and white movie.

Francis Devine, Howth, Dublin 13

The day after the floods, my son David was walking along the bank of the Nenagh river when he came on a large cat dipping its paw into a pool left by the receding water. The pool was full of minnows and the cat was catching and eating them.

Jane Coman, Rathurles, Co Tipperary

In the recent frost we saw beautiful frost patterns on the glass but later on in the week, the frost had no patterns and looked like frozen condensation.

Maeve Cacho (6), Phibsborough, Dublin 7

A. The first frost pattern was caused when the pane of glass was exposed to very cold air outside while the inside air was reasonably moist from, say, breath. The patterns are random, almost infinite and very beautiful. In the second case the conditions were different, perhaps not so cold outside and not so moist inside.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28F978, or email viney@anu.ie. Include a postal address

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