IRISH STOAT


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SPECIES OF THE WEEK

Irish Stoat

Mustela erminea hibernica
Easóg

The Irish stoat is widespread throughout Ireland and is a distinct sub-species confined to Ireland and the Isle of Man. They are often mistakenly called weasels in rural areas, but weasels are not found in Ireland.

The main difference in the Irish stoat is the dividing line between the chestnut-brown fur and the cream underside, which is usually irregular, and the hair on the upper lip is brown in the Irish stoat, also there is no white edge on the ear. The tip of the tail is always black. They do not normally become white (Ermine) in winter, due to our climate and lack of sitting snow.

Irish stoats have long thin cylindrical bodies and short legs. Males are larger than females with the average adult male measuring up to 40cm for the head and body while the females are shorter measuring up to 30cm. Stoats have long slender tails in proportion to their bodies which have a distinctive black tip at the end, males grow slightly longer tails than females which can measure up to 14cm in length. Adult males weigh up to 400 grams with females being much lighter weighing on average 200 grams. Unusually for mammals there is a noticeable difference in the size of the Irish population of stoats with individuals in the south being bigger and heavier than those found in more northern areas. Stoats have excellent vision and largely hunt by sight, their senses of smell and hearing are also well developed. They are good climbers, can swim well if required and able to run quite fast for short distances using a bounding stride interrupted to stand upright on their hind legs to survey the area.

They can be found in woodlands, hedgerows, marsh, heather, lowland farms, moorland, coastal areas and mountains. They prefer open woodlands and rocky scrub covered areas, on agricultural lands they would be near stone walls, ditches or hedgerows.

Irish stoats are skilled hunters they generally prey on rodents, birds, rabbits and insects. Male stoats will stalk and kill prey much larger than themselves, while females concentrate on smaller mammals like shrews, mice and rats. A single strong bite to the back of the neck is the favored method of attack for stoats. While they are largely carnivorous they will supplement their diets with berries and fruits depending on availability. While above ground stoats use their eyesight to locate prey such as birds, reptiles and voles while they use their sense of smell if hunting rabbits or rats below ground. Stoats are good climbers and will eat bird’s eggs from the nest, and as competent swimmers they can hunt fish in slow moving rivers.

The main breeding season for the Irish stoat begins in May and ends in July. An unusual adaptation for small mammals sees a long delay between mating and when gestation begins, this is done to ensure that the young are born the following year in early summer to avail of better conditions and food supply. Irish stoats produce one litter per year with each litter of five to twelve young known as kits. When born they are blind, deaf and have a light covering of fluffy white fur weighing only 4 grams. They are totally dependent on their mother and are fully weaned after five weeks. Rapid growth will see the young stoats becoming fully independent after twelve weeks by which time their mothers will have taught them several hunting techniques which they will need when establishing their own territories. Another unusual reproductive trait of the Irish stoat is that some female kits can become sexually mature after only a few weeks, if mating occurs with an adult male then the young stoat can become pregnant while still being weaned by her mother although the delayed gestation period of stoats means she will not give birth until the following year once she sets up her own territory.

The Animal Ecology & Conservation Group, NUIG, with the support of The Vincent Wildlife Trust, are carrying out a nationwide study of the Irish stoat. If you have any information on the Irish stoat, especially sightings, please fill in our online survey form at:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10UyAoo4jQH7553_P3KLvbDN_eisWQ2R0njnr_qHRF9k/viewform

Photo by Carrie Crowley

Rebuilding my serpent 720 radio controlled car


Ok so decided to dig out my r/c car a few years ago i raced these at club level and at national level and the highest i finished was 9th nationally and 4th in club level.. It was very tough due to work and cost to run them for a season to be competetive. Putting this aside i said id give it a bash this season which should start in april or so. The club and track i was at is the only onroad track in dublin. Www.orcaireland.ie .above is a picture of the car stripped down its a serpent 720 1/10th scale
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This is a picture of the front and rear differential the one open gives you an idea of the internals of a diff it uses 30,000 wt oil. I found a leak on this so i had to fix it. The seal is a rubber o ring and was pinced so fluid was leaking out. Takes about 20mins to clean and refill then seal up.

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Next this picture is a picture of the shocks on the car they need to be maintained alot. I use 40,000 wt in the rear and 30,000 wt in the front they are fairly simple to break down and fix. I have a tool that when the shick is open and old oil removed and new oil installed you put the four shocks in a vacuum chamber remove all air and in doing this the air is drawn out of the oil due to the negative pressure to give you the best performance when re-assembled.

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This is the rear diff and belt re-installed in the car.

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Side angle of car
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Rear view of car with all arms and upper posts installed plus the diff roof is now on to hold inplace.

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Another view of rear with parts installed

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Rear shocks installed
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Picture of front assembly you can also see fuel tank and exhaust. The exhaust is a novarossi 2630 efra legal tune pipe. The fuel tank is 75cl

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Next the car is put on a setup board to adust and set droop,camber,toe,ride height, and a few other things
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The setup system i use is a hudy professional setup jig you can find it here under setup http://www.hudy.com

Finally shell is cut measured and installed on car and is checked for legal heights.

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I paint a few shells to have spares and incase i damage one on the track there usually is between 10-15 meetings including club and nationals.hope you enjoy reading a bit about one of my hobbies and i will keep you posted on any other results on the track or problems i encounter