Select Page

Wildlife in Germany

On this page I will introduce you to the many animals you could encounter taking a hike through the woods or even just opening the hood of your car.

Germany does not really host any large predators anymore, but that does not mean all our wild animals are sweet and cuddly. So as with any other wild animal, treat them with a good portion of respect.

Common Wild Animals:    
Alpine Ibex Alpine Ibex The Alpine Ibex is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps. Ibexes are strictly herbivorous and survive on a diet of grass, moss, flowers, leaves and twigs. If leaves and shoots are out of reach, Ibexes often stand on their rear legs to reach this food.
Badger Badger mostly hiding in the Woods, may encounter one at night driving through the woods. Just like Raccoons they can be quit vicious.
Buzzard Buzzard The population of these birds of prey has been nicely reestablished and you will see them often sitting on trees along roads.
Chamois Chamois The chamois is native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. Some subspecies of chamois are strictly protected in the EU under the European Habitats Directive
Deer Deer Sadly these shy animals end up often as road kill.
So be very careful driving through the woods especially after dusk.
Hamster European Hamster It is typically found in low-lying farmland with soft loam or loess soils, although it may also inhabit meadows, gardens, or hedges. The black-bellied hamster is found from Belgium (e.g. Bertem with a thriving population) and Alsace in the west, to Russia in the east, and Romania in the south.
Fox Fox Very shy animals, but they will come out into the cities and villages at night looking for food. Beware, a lot of Foxes do carry diseases as rabies and worms.
Dormouse Fat Dormouse The fat dormouse is the largest of all dormice, being around 14 to 19 centimeters (5.5 to 7.5 in) in head-body length, plus a 11 to 13 centimeters (4.3 to 5.1 in) tail. It normally weighs from 120 to 150 grams (4.2 to 5.3 oz), but may almost double in weight immediately prior to hibernation. It has a generally squirrel-like body, with small ears, short legs, and large feet. Its fur is grey to grayish-brown in color over most of the body, with a clear line separating off the white to pale buff under parts. Unlike most other dormice, there are no dark markings on the face, aside from faint rings around the eyes. The tail is long and bushy, with fur slightly darker than that on the body
Goose Graylag Goose This species is found throughout the Old World, apparently breeding where suitable localities are to be found in many European countries, although it no longer breeds in southwestern Europe. Eastwards it extends across Asia to China. In North America there are both feral domestic geese, which are similar to graylags, and occasional vagrants.
Seals Harbor Seal Common seals are brown, tan, or gray, with distinctive V-shaped nostrils. An adult can attain a length of 1.85 meters (6.1 ft) and a mass of 132 kilograms (290 lb). Females outlive males (30–35 years versus 20–25 years). Common seals stick to familiar resting spots or haul out sites, generally rocky areas (although ice, sand and mud may also be used) where they are protected from adverse weather conditions and predation, near a foraging area. Males may fight over mates underwater and on land. Females are believed to mate with the strongest males and generally bear a single pup, which they care for alone.
Hare Hare Very common here. You will hares all through the fields.
Hedgehog Hedgehog The Hedgehog populations is finally recovering a bit. These sweet animals are out mostly at night, and you may even find one wandering in your yard. A lot of Hedgehogs find a sad end on the street, since they roll up and are no match for a car tire.
Heron Heron Has had a nice comeback to Germany too, thanks to the nature habitats.
Mallard Mallard The Mallard, or Wild duck, probably the best-known and most recognizable of all ducks, is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.The male birds have a bright green head, while the female’s is light brown. The mallard lives in wetlands, eats water plants, and is gregarious. It is also migratory. The mallard is the ancestor of all domestic ducks..
Alpine Marmot Marmot Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Alps.Marmots typically live in burrows, and hibernate there through the winter. Most marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed. Marmots mainly eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, roots, and flowers.
Marten Marten These animals are very common here, but not very popular.
Usually you will not see them, but you can hear them fighting at night, or you may find traces of them in your car. They love sleeping in the engine compartment of parked cars and will not hesitate to chew through isolation or a wire or two , while getting comfortable.
Mole Mole Although moles burrow, some species are semi-aquatic. Moles have cylindrical bodies covered in fur while the ears are generally not visible. They have small or covered eyes and can probably still tell night from day, although they are otherwise blind. Moles eat small invertebrates living underground. Moles can be found in most parts of North America,  Asia, and Europe.
Mouflon Mouflon Mouflon have a red-brown short-haired coat with a dark back-stripe, light colored saddle patch, ‘socks’ and under parts. The males are horned; some females are horned while others lack horns. The horn is curved in almost one full revolution (up to 85 cm). Mouflon have a shoulder height of about 0.9 meters and a body weight of 50 kg (males) and 35 kg (females).They were successfully introduced into continental Europe.
Mouse Mouse Mice are a bit of a pest here and can be found all over, farms cities and the forests. There are many different kinds of mice.
Muskrat Muskrat These can be found along the rivers where the waters run slow or lakes with swampy edges. They almost look like a mix between a beaver and guinea pig.
Swan Mute Swan Mute Swans nest on large mounds that they build with waterside vegetation in shallow water on islands in the middle or at the very edge of a lake. Mute Swans are usually strongly territorial with just a single pair on smaller lakes, though in a few locations where a large area of suitable feeding habitat is found they can be colonial. Although this bird can be tame, especially to those who feed it daily, it is aggressive in defense of its nest, and its size and impressive hissing make it a formidable adversary for animals as large as a fox.
Owl Owl Germany has a quite vast array of different owls, sadly some of them have become rather rare.
Pheasant Pheasant Very common here, you can see them trough out the fields in Germany, also a very popular game bird.
 Rabbit Rabbit All over in Germany, they live in the Fields, Forests and Parks.
 Racoon Raccoon Brought to Germany originally as pet, these animals have made themselves a home in our forests.
Rat Rat European associations with the rat are generally negative. For instance, “Rats!” is used as a substitute for various vulgar interjections in the English language. These associations do not draw, per se, from any biological or behavioral trait of the rat, but possibly from the association of rats with the 14th-century medieval plague called the Black Death. Rats are seen as vicious, unclean, parasitic animals that steal food and spread disease. However some people in European cultures keep rats as pets and conversely find them to be tame, clean, intelligent, and playful.
Shrew Shrew In general, shrews are terrestrial creatures that forage for seeds, insects, nuts, worms and a variety of other foods in leaf litter and dense vegetation, but some specialize in climbing trees, living underground, in the subniveal layer or even hunting in water. They have small eyes, and generally poor vision, but have excellent senses of hearing and smell
Squirrel Squirrel German Squirrels are red and have tiny bushels on their ears, sometimes you can even see a black one. They will even come down in the Winter to plunder your bird feeders.
Stork Stork Thanks to breading habitats the storks are no longer close to extinction
Boar Wild Boar There are a lot of wild boar in German Forests, in fact so many of them, that they are becoming a problem. Since they do not really have any natural enemies left , their population exploded. To the point of them coming into the cities looking for food.
You do not want to be with an angry boar. they can cause some serious injuries!

 Potentially Dangerous Animals

Viper Asp Viper This snake likes to call sunny and dry mountainsides her home. If bitten symptoms include swelling, rarely paralysis and dizziness and nausea. Lethal bites are extremely rare.
kreuzotter Adder This snake prefers swampy, cool and wet areas to live in. If bitten symptoms include swelling , discoloration and extreme pain, also dizziness, vomiting and circulatory collapse. Again lethal bites are extremely rare.
Venomous & biting Insects and Spiders    
Waterspider Water Spider The only spider living under water in Europe. It is fairly rare, but its bite is comparable to the sting of a wasp.
Cross Spider Cross Spider This spider has only a very weak poison and will most likely not even penetrate the skin unless its a small child.
3270845210 Yellow Sac Spider They reach a length of about 15 mm, and can penetrate human skin; the bite is similar to a wasp sting, perhaps a bit more severe, although susceptible persons can have stronger reactions, like nausea.
Red Ant Red Forest Ant This little Bug falls under the Nature protection law. They live in big Anthills in the Woods. Their bites are comparable to a burn from stingy nettles.
Tick Tick Very common in Germany. Especially during the summer you want to check your pets and yourselves for those bugs. They can carry two very serous diseases: Lyme disease and meningitis.
Common Stinging Insects    
Bumble Bee Bumble Bee Usually they will not sting, if they do its comparable to a bee.
Hornet Hornet These can become dangerous especially for Children and older folks, so if you notice Hornets around stay away or call the fire department for removal.
Fly Horse Fly These can cause quite a bad sting that itches and burns.
Bee Honey Bee Only dangerous for people with allergies
Mosquito Mosquito Pesky as everywhere else but unless your allergic not really dangerous.
Wasp Wasp/Yellow jacket Wasps can be very annoying especially in the Summer. If you leave anything sweet outside Wasps will happily take over any pick nick. They can be dangerous especially if accidently swallowed.
Bumble Bee Another Bumble Bee Usually they will not sting, if they do its comparable to a bee.