While Germany is known for its mountainous landscapes, quaint villages and picturesque castles, not many people travel to the region to see the country’s wildlife. While Germany may not have as much wildlife as, say, Ecuador, the country is still home to a number of species worth seeing (if you’re lucky, that is)!
If you’re hiking at a high elevation in the Alps, you might stumble across an Alpine ibex (commonly referred to as a Steinbock in German). This is a species of wild goat that is an excellent climber and lives in rough terrain near the snow line. So in order to spot one, you have to be pretty high up!
One of Germany’s most famous inhabitants is the red fox – and if you spend a lot of time in nature, you have a good chance of seeing one! Red foxes are common throughout Europe, and you’ll be able to spot one easily due to its red-orange fur. According to one study, there are about 600,000 red foxes living in Germany. So bring your telephoto lenses and start looking!
Watch where you’re stepping – you might find a fire salamander! These amphibians are distinguished by their black bodies with yellow spots or stripes. You’re likely to find them in cool high-altitude forests – usually between 820 and 3,280 feet. But beware: the fire salamander secretes neurotoxins, so keep a reasonable distance if you see one.
One animal native to Germany’s vast forests is the wild boar. In fact, they’re sometimes even spotted in big cities, such as Berlin – especially when they’re searching for food. But if you find one, be careful not too get too close! Wild boar can weigh 110-200 lbs and you definitely don’t want to get between a mother and her piglets. But feel free to admire them from afar.
European Pine Marten
If you’ve ever heard noises coming from your attic in Germany, there’s a good chance that a marten is to blame! The population of the European Pine Martin in Germany has exploded in recent years. Before the 1950s, these furry creatures were hunted in Germany. Today, however, they are quite common. Unfortunately for home and car owners, though, they can also be quite destructive. Martens seek out warm places (like a car engine) and love to chew through plastic and rubber as a way to mark their territory. Still, you can’t deny that they’re pretty cute anyway!
The European Badger (called a Dachs in German) is found throughout most of Europe. It is a burrowing, nocturnal animal – so your best chances for seeing one is at night.
The chamois is a species of goat-antelope native to the mountains in Europe. Your best chance of seeing one of these exotic animals in Germany is in the Alps. The chamois usually lives with a herd, so you might see more than just one! So if you’re planning on a hike, bring a pair of binoculars to observe these animals in their natural habitat.
Called a Murmeltier in German, the Alpine marmot might look like a groundhog – but it’s not one (although they do have a lot in common)! Marmots are actually considered to be large squirrels that are suited for life in colder environments. They live in burrows and you’re most likely to see one in the Alps! You’ve got to admit: they’re pretty funny-looking!
We can’t forget the infamous red squirrel! In the US, we are used to seeing eastern grey squirrels, so it’s a treat to see the Eurasian red squirrels throughout Germany. You’ll likely encounter many of these. And if you have a peanut in your pocket, you may even get close to one!
Of course, Germany is home to many more species of animals worth seeing. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below or on social media at @GermanyinUSA!
By Nicole Glass, German Embassy