Do you want to learn more about Wildlife in Germany?
Germany is a vast country, which has very rich history and culture. It is known for a fantastic beer and stunning cities.
There is no doubt that Germany is a great place to visit, but have you ever considered the wildlife that resides in the countryside and cities of Germany? It is often overlooked by many!
This blog will take a look at 6 interesting wildlife creatures that one could find in Germany. These animals are all wild and wonderful, use the links below to skip to whichever one calls you most. Or read the whole blog to grasp all the wonderful interesting things about each creature.
With a long, thick coat, a broad head, and a comparatively flat face, the European wildcat has the appearance of a large, powerful wild cat.
Sometimes this wildcat could also be mistaken for a large domestic tabby cat. Its coat is grey-brown, marked with dark stripes on the head, neck, limbs, and along the back.
The wildcat’s tail is thick and marked with dark rings and a black tip. The cat’s distribution ranges from Europe to Russia. Although is often known for passing through the countryside of Germany, in woodland terrain.
The European wildcat lives in a variety of habitats throughout its range over Europe and Russia. It requires cover for hunting and rest sites. Although an excellent climber, the wildcat hunts almost exclusively on the ground and mostly at night.
It usually hunts by moving slowly and quietly through its territory, but also employs the sit-and-wait predator method. The cat feeds on a variety of small prey, especially rodents, but will also engage with larger animals such as hares, rabbits, and young deer if the opportunity presents itself .
Although the exact status of the European wildcat in the wild is unknown, its population is known to be declining. Throughout history, this cat has been considered to be vermin and has been hunted heavily for its fur coat. Other threats to the European wildcat include habitat loss, habitat destruction, hybridization with domestic cats, and disease transmission from domestic cats.
This Wildcat of Europe is known to live up to fifteen years old in the wild, weigh merely three to six kilograms in full adult size and have a body length of only 50-80 cm and a long tail reaching just over a ruler long (40cm).
Wild boars belong to the same family as domestic pigs. The latter is a domesticated sub-species, and farmed for its meat products at an alarming scale.
Representations of wild boars vary from one place and from one era to another and whether they are considered courageous animals or a pet peeve. Their numbers are growing and they sometimes even venture into urban areas.
This Suidae (official classification in the animal kingdom) is popular for hunters, especially as, like pork, wild boar meat can be cooked in a number of different ways.
Wild boars live in herds, and more or less in forest terrain. However, they have a remarkable ability to adapt. They can be found in marshlands, scrubland or on the edges of farmland where they cause serious damage to crops.
For the past thirty years or so, numbers of wild boars have risen in Europe, even in peri-urban and urban areas. Berlin is now thought to be home to some 7000 to 8000 wild boars perhaps fleeing hunting areas and in search of food.
Owing to the abundance of this game animal in numerous regions, they are hunted in droves. Drovers drive the animals towards the shooters. With hound hunting, packs of dogs chase the game.
Ground blind hunting is also practised, where hunters hide behind a screen of branches. However, as wild boars are nocturnal animals, stalking is rarer as it is difficult to find and follow an animal in the dark.
Tradition dictates that hunters honour their quarry immediately after it is killed. This can be done by, for example, by placing an oak branch in the animal’s mouth. As for all game, a wild boar must be immediately gutted in the field, as fermentation of the food in the intestines could soon harm the quality of the meat.
Wild Boars are not known to be aggressive, but even if one comes into contact with this animal in an urban setting (like in Berlin for example), do not approach it as it may get frightened and act accordingly.
The black-and-white striped badger is a well-known species in Europe and Germany. They have strong front paws, which they use to dig for food as they are land predators and omnivorous. They feed on small mammals, birds’ eggs, earthworms, fruit and plants.
These Black and white badgers are roughly 30 cm tall and 56–81 cm long, excluding the 12–20-cm tail, and weighs 8–10 kg or more. Their small size does not hinder their ability to be quick! They are very fast little creatures which helps when they feel threatened and can quickly scurry into their setts.
Badgers live in large family groups in burrows under the ground called a ‘sett’. One knows if a sett is lived in as it is usually neat and tidy with clean doorways marked with piles of used bedding (hay and leaves). There will also be a particularly smelly pit nearby that the badgers use as a toilet (how civilised).
Badger Cubs are born in January or February but spend the first few months of their lives underground only coming out in spring when it is a little warmer.
Adult European badgers have few natural predators. In Europe Tuberculosis and starvation are the most important causes of natural mortality, but thousands are killed annually by vehicles.
The bicolored shrew also known as the white-toothed shrew, is a small mammal known by its distinctive colouring. The bicolored shrew is a medium to dark brown on its back and white or light grey on its underbelly. This difference in colour is immediately obvious, as the variation is clearly defined.
However, those that look even further will notice that the bicolored shrew is equipped with bright, white teeth. Its teeth are such a stark white, not due to the shrew’s diet, but because its teeth lack natural pigmentation. These teeth are also sharp and tightly crowded together, even more so than other white toothed shrew species.
Besides their ability to impress any dentist, the bicolored shrew’s teeth are also put to good use. These animals are aggressive carnivores that will feast on any small animal they can find. These shrews prefer to hunt small mammals, frogs, and lizards, but will eat insects if prey is scarce.
The bicolored shrew also has a peculiar way of consuming their prey. Instead of going for the large, meaty portions of the body, bicolored shrews always eats their prey’s brain first. They will then eat the rest of their prey, leaving only unwanted limbs, skin, and tails.
While the bicolored shrew may sound frightening, it is actually fairly small. An adult shrew weighs 0.024 pounds, or 0.011 kilograms, and grows to about 3.82 to 5.24 inches, or 97 to 133 millimeters, in length.
Additionally, this shrew is native to Central Europe and prefers dry, temperate habitats. Bicolored shrews find their homes in woodlands and grasslands, where they are offered many places to hide.
Shrews prefer to burrow and build tunnels under rock piles or thick brush, in order to disguise and protect their homes. Bicolored shrews will also make themselves at home in people’s gardens, farmlands, and farm buildings, frequently to the dismay of the inhabitants.
The bicolored shrew is plentiful in Central Europe and is currently not at risk for extinction. However, this animals does find itself hunted by a number of different animals, including snakes, owls, and other carnivorous mammals. Fortunately, those that want the opportunity to see the bicolored shrew, will not find it difficult, although they may want to keep a safe distance from this aggressive little mammal.
Greater Horseshoe Bat
Bats are currently at the forefront of scepticism for bringing the coronavirus -Coivd-19- into the world. These innocent creatures (who already face declining populations) are therefore currently now more than ever still under great threat.
The greater horseshoe bat was once a cave-dweller, but now tends to roost in old buildings, such as churches and barns. It is rare in Germany and Europe alike and, like many other bats, declining in number.
All European bats are nocturnal, feeding on midges, moths and other flying insects that they find in the dark by using echolocation. In early summer, greater horseshoe bats will emerge at dusk and dawn, however, preferring to roost through the middle of the night.
From May, females form maternity colonies to have their pups. Greater horseshoe bats hibernate over the winter in caves, disused mines, tunnels and cellars.
Greater horseshoe bat often choose a regular perch in a tree or cave from which they can watch for passing insects; when they spot their prey, they fly out to catch it in the air. Insect remains beneath such perches can be spotted in spring and autumn, in particular.
The red fox is one of the most well-known fox species in the world and these foxes live around the world in many diverse habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts.
They also adapt well to human environments such as farms, suburban areas, and even large communities. The red fox’s resourcefulness has earned it a legendary reputation for intelligence and cunning.
Red foxes are solitary hunters who feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small game—but their diet can be as flexible as their home habitat. Foxes will eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms.
If living among humans, foxes will opportunistically dine on garbage and pet food. In urban areas (like any major city in Germany) these clever foxes rummage around home gardens often causing some damage in the process.
Like a cat’s tail, the foxes thick tail aids its balance, but it has other uses as well. A fox uses its tail (or “brush”) as a warm cover in cold weather and as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes. Foxes also signal each other by making scent posts—urinating on trees or rocks to announce their presence and mark their territory.
In winter, foxes meet to mate. The vixen (female) typically gives birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. At birth, red foxes are actually brown or grey. A new red coat usually grows in by the end of the first month, but some red foxes are golden, reddish-brown, silver, or even black. Both parents care for their young through the summer before they are able to strike out on their own in the fall.
Red foxes are hunted for sport, though not extensively, and are sometimes killed as destructive pests or frequent carriers of rabies.
In Germany, whilst there are around 1,800 wolves, there also exists wolf centres where you can see and observe them from a close distance. One that exists is the Wolfcenter in Dörverden in Lower Saxony.
Two wolf packs live here in a huge game reserve. One of the packs was raised by hand, which means that the wolves are used to humans and do not mind your presence. The second pack roams completely wild through their territory and rarely shows itself to the visitors of the center.
During a guided tour you will not only learn some cool facts about the fascinating four-legged friends, but also have the opportunity to watch the wolves at close range!
For even more adventure tingling, you can stay in one of the Tree Inn’s tree houses in the middle of the enclosure. Here you have enough space to watch the wolves all night long with three other adventurers
Wildlife in Germany does not stop there! There are many other amazing animals worth mentioning like the European Pine Martin and the Chamois! Would you ever want to see some wildlife when on your next visit to Germany?
Operators such as these will help you on this quest!
Summary on Wildlife in Germany
The current global situation is devastating economically and on a humanitarian spectrum. However, the silver lining of this may be found in the ability for Wildlife to regain some of its lost ground and make a “come back” in some ways.
The limited travel to wild areas, as well as less transportation disrupting the sky and seas has enabled more animals to feel free and not be hurt through man-made constructs.
Wildlife in Germany may not be a top priority to some people, and it is even less known to many the immense diversity that Germany has to offer. However, supporting operators with rehabilitation incentives during these hard times can make a big difference.
We encourage you to only support organisations doing real good for animals and in the best case scenario going to see wildlife in the wild in a non- obtrusive manner.
Hopefully you are excited for travel to resume as normal, but let’s not forget that the animals have enjoyed this break to. If you enjoyed this article about interesting Wildlife in Germany, you may be interested in ready blogs about Wildlife in Sweden and Wildlife in Greece.
Thanks for reading Wildlife in Germany.