Although German wildlife is not as plentiful as what you can see in North America for example,
there are still quite a few mammal species around, specially in Bavaria or in remote part of the country.
As the country still has a 30% forest cover, many species have survived closer to cities than in other European countries.
The fact that the county is also criss-crossed by numerous rivers of all sizes attract many waterfowls, as well as reptiles and amphibians and the infrequent mammal.
During our stay here, the most frequent German wildlife we saw, or more often heard, were the birds. Because of its a more temperate climate many birds stay over winter, and so, even in the middle of this season, you can still hear many birds singing.
Of course, others do migrate back and fort between Africa or Asia and Europe and Germans do have stories about the first swallow or crane announcing the arrival of Spring, as there are all over Europe.
The best way to see the German wildlife is either to go for a
. Germany is fantastic for that: there are
all over the place, from the northern tip to the southern border and from west to east. These trails cover not only travelling through the fields and the forests, but they will also bring you to all cities and villages of Germany. You can either follow those along waterways or go through the mountains.
If you would like to know more about our little adventures in Germany, we suggest A year in Germany, a humoristic account of our life in a new country!
It is during such trips that we saw deer. There are not as big as the White tails of North America, more of the size of a medium to large dog.
Actually, the first time we saw some of them we thought that they were dogs! These little animals are an important part of German mythology and history and you can see drawing of antlers, or the antlers themselves, quite often in restaurant or on the city walls of towns.
They even gave their name to a beautiful small Medieval town close to Heidelberg called Hirschhorn (Hirsch= deer, Horn=antlers). The lords of the place were also known as Hirschhorn Lords and their tomb stones have deer antler carved into them.
Another German wildlife that is quite a mystic beast in this country is the wild boar. They have many stories about this animal and the great hunts given by the lords of the land to captures such a fierce beast. And while they are not as numerous as they once were, neighbours told us that they have seen the occasional one.
The best story is probably from our own landlady who said to have seen one in the living room of a friend close by! The door of the house was open and it has simply enter it. The beast and her exchange a quick look at each other before it ran for its life! She still has goose bump when she tells the story!
Another well known animal of Germany is its White Swan. Indeed, who has not heard of the "Neuschwannstein" castle (literally: new swan rock)?
Close to our house, in the village of Neckargamünd, there are two rivers meeting; the great Neckar and the little Elsenz, and there are at least two resident couples of Swan who have offspring every, well, spring! They are magnificent birds but I would not get too close to their young when the parents are close by; they do hiss at you like geese!
Other wildlife that we saw were mainly small lizards, some tadpoles and the occasional feral cats!
There is also a strange beast living in Bavaria. It is an elusive little animal that very few people had the chance of seeing. It is best described as a white, rather round, hairy little animal with a beak and horned ears. Its feet are like that of a bird and its name is as strange as the beast itself: Wolperdinger.
There is at least one good point about the wildlife in Germany and its abundance of birds: the very low bugs' density! I think that we must have seen 2-3 mosquitoes since we arrived here! In comparison to the tons of small black flies that assail us in Canada every Spring, this is great indeed!
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