Species Profiles

Here you can find all the profiles of the animal species collected in the project Roadkill. The texts are based on Wikipedia articles, which are linked directly in the profiles and provide further information on the species.


The greater horseshoe bat is the largest European horseshoe bat species with a maximum length of seven cm (without tail) and a wingspan of up to 40 cm. The weight is 17 to 30 g. On the upperparts it has a grey-brown, slightly reddish tinge to its fur, which changes to greyish-white on the underparts. The size of the horseshoe bat and the shape of the nose on its head make it easy to identify.


Summer habitats are warm, draught-free attics, church towers, ruins and caves. The entrance and exit openings must be large enough for the animals to fly through freely. From the beginning of October to the end of April, frost-proof, draught-free and sufficiently humid (min. 95 % relative humidity) mine tunnels, rock caves and underground vaults are used as winter quarters. The preferred ambient temperature is 7 to 10 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature 4 degrees, the maximum temperature 12 degrees. During hibernation, horseshoe bats wrap their bodies with their patagium.

The animals show a high degree of site fidelity. The winter and summer roosts are never more than 50 km apart.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Große_Hufeisennase). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


With a snout-vent length between 6.7 and 8.4 cm and a wingspan between 35 and 43 cm, the greater mouse-eared bat is the largest European species of Myotis. An adult weighs between 28 and 40 g. The greater mouse-eared bat has a very short and broad snout, the ears are long and wide. The short fur of adults is blackish-brown at the hair roots and light brownish-grey on the upperpart. The belly is white-grey, the neck sometimes slightly yellowish. Juveniles are more grey than brownish. The snout, ears and wings are grey-brown. In contrast to the adult greater mouse-eared bat, the lesser mouse-eared bat is dark grey in colour, and its body measurements are usually smaller than those of the greater mouse-eared bat. The number of ear folds (7-8 in the greater mouse-eared bat, 5-6 in the lesser mouse-eared) is also a distinguishing feature.


The habitat of the greater mouse-eared bat is mainly open terrain, such as meadows, fields and open woodland, but also human settlements. Summer habitats are in roof trusses and church towers, also in bridges. The animals hang freely here. 

When foraging, they like to fly between trees at low (1-2 m above the ground) and medium altitudes, listening to the rustling sounds of prey running on the ground (passive detection). The sense of smell probably also plays a greater role in finding prey, with echolocation taking a back seat. The animals are also capable of so-called shaking flight for a short period of time. 4 to 17 km can lie between the roost and the hunting habitat. The main food is ground-dwelling arthropods, especially large ground beetles (Carabus), arachnids (Arachnida) and centipedes (Chilopoda).

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Großes_Mausohr). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 18 August 2021


The animals have a snout-vent length of about 40 to 50 cm. The tail length is 10 to 20 cm. The weight varies within the course of the year. Healthy adult males weight at least three kg. The weight of the females is slightly less.

The head is blackish and grey with a light-coloured snout. The ears are small and furry. The coat consists of dense, strong kemps and an undercoat of shorter, somewhat wavy hairs. The coat colour is basically very variable. The back can be slate grey, light brown or reddish brown, the underparts are usually more yellowish. Occasionally there are also individuals with a blackish coat. The coat is changed once a year. Most individuals change it in June.

The muscular and strong shoulder girdle and the pronounced digging paws are striking features of the Alpine groundhog's body. The front legs are a little shorter than the hind legs. The front feet have four toes, the hind feet five. Alpine groundhogs are sole walkers, the soles of their feet have well-developed pads and are not furred.


The altitudes where most Alpine groundhogs occur range from the local tree line to about 200 m above it. Groundhogs also use cleared areas below the tree line that have been kept permanently free of trees by humans. However, they do not go below certain altitudes and are generally only observed above an altitude of at least 800 meters. In good groundhog areas, 40 to 80 groundhogs live on one square km.

Alpine groundhogs are able to cope with extreme alpine conditions and colonise alpine mats up to the foot of glaciers. They occasionally reach altitudes of 3000 m. A suitable habitat must have alpine grass, as this is the only place they can find sufficient food plants. It must also offer deep soil that enables the groundhogs to build their extensive burrows. They prefer south-facing slopes, as these are most likely to be free of snow in spring. On such slopes, the growing season also starts earlier and lasts longer.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpenmurmeltier). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 August 2021


The harvest mouse is one of the smallest rodents. It reaches a snout-vent length of 55 to 75 mm, the tail measures about 50 to 75 mm. Its weight is 5 to 7 g. Its upperparts are reddish brown, in some areas also dark brown. The underpart is sharply set off from the back and is white. The unusually long tail is used as a prehensile tail and is bicoloured. The ears barely protrude from the fur. The eyes are very small and dark brown. The skull is also very small; harvest mice can squeeze through holes of one cm in diameter.


Their habitat is areas of high vegetation, for example tall grasses, reeds and cane thickets and bamboo thickets, but also grain fields. Occasionally they are also found in hedgerows or rice fields.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwergmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


It weights 15 to 40 g and grows to a length of just under 15 cm, with almost half of the length (5.8 to 6.8 cm) being accounted for by the tail. The coat is yellow-brownish to reddish-brown with a white patch on the throat and chest, the tail is usually somewhat darker; pure white or black animals have also been recorded. They live 3 to 4 years in the wild and are sexually mature at one year.


Their preferred habitat is dense bushes, hedges, wide forest margins and mixed forests with rich undergrowth. Hazel bushes (Corylus avellana) and bramble hedges are particularly popular. However, it seems to be quite adaptable and tolerant of noise, as individuals and nests have already been found in dividing strips of motorways planted with bushes.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haselmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 August 2021


The total length of this small, slender lizard species is a maximum of 18 cm, the snout-vent length is about 6.5 cm. In appearance, the species resembles the European wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). The collar closes smoothly to the back. The dorsal scales are relatively large, roundish to hexagonal, flat and not keeled. On the middle of the back they are arranged in distinct transverse rows, on the flanks more irregularly. The head, back and upper side of the tail are light brownish, gray-greenish to whitish-gray. In oblique light, the species may have a greenish iridescence. Beginning at the nostril, a broad, dark to reddish-brown longitudinal band extends over the temporal region and the upper half of the flanks, the upper edge of which is distinctly serrated. This band also extends over the sides of the tail, where it forms characteristic rhomboids strung together. Occasionally the pale dorsum is patternless, but usually it is covered with numerous small dark spots. Relatively often there is a narrow brown line on the middle of the back, but it may be incompletely developed. The throat region is whitish-gray, the ventral side straw to greenish-yellow colored. The underpart is unspotted, only on the outer row of the ventral shields there may be black or even rust-colored spots. Juveniles closely resemble adults in coloration and markings, but have conspicuously chip-green or greenish-gray tails.


The Horvath's rock lizard is a mountain species found from 250 m above sea level upwards. The highest occurrence is at 2000 m altitude on Visoka Ponca (Slovenia). Preference is given to damp, cool altitudes of 800-1200 m, especially stony terrain, cliffs, karst rocks, stone bridges and road embankments. They usually stay directly on rock faces, near crevices, or in scree that is sometimes overgrown with moss, grasses, and small ferns. The animals also stay on ungrouted retaining walls and in their crevice system. At lower altitudes, the species is often associated with the European wall lizard. There the well climbing species prefers smooth and steep rock surfaces, on which it still finds sufficient hold as the lighter species in contrast to the heavier European wall lizard.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kroatische_Gebirgseidechse). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 26 May 2021


The house martin has a body length of about 13 cm and weights between 16 and 25 grams. It is thus smaller and slimmer than a sparrow and belongs to the medium-sized birds within the swallow family.

The head, back, upper side of the wings and tail of adult house martins are blue-black. The entire underparts of the body and the rump contrast with this with a pure white to floury white colouration. The short legs and feet are also white feathered. The toes and the few unfeathered parts of the legs are pale flesh-coloured. Compared to the barn swallow, the tail is less forked; strongly elongated outer feathers are absent. The eyes are brown; the beak is short and black. 

Occasionally, house martins also include whites whose plumage is either completely white or in which the white parts are much more extensive than in normally coloured house martins. The literature describes individuals in which only the head was normally coloured and the rest of the body was feathered in white, or in which only the right wing feathers, wing coverts and primaries were pure white.

Juveniles can be distinguished from adults by their brownish to brownish-black upperparts, which only shine bluish-black in some areas. The wings are also brownish and still lacking in lustre. The throat and flanks are grey feathered. The most striking distinguishing feature is the grey rump (pure white in adults). It has a speckled appearance as its dark brown feathers have white tips.


House martins are originally breeding birds that nest on vertical rock cliffs. Breeding colonies in such natural places still exist today. In its European range, however, the species is predominantly a synanthropic bird, using the open and populated cultural landscape as its habitat. Even in the European range, house martins still settle at high altitudes. In Austria, a colony of house martins has been documented on the Großglockner at an altitude of 2450 metres.

House martins depend on open areas with low vegetation. This enables them to hunt aerial plankton even when it flies low due to rainy or stormy weather. The proximity of larger bodies of water is also necessary to find suitable nesting material. There are different statements in the literature about how pronounced the cultural succession behaviour of the house martin is, especially in comparison to the barn swallow. High levels of air pollution may be responsible for house martins avoiding cities in some regions.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehlschwalbe). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 11 November 2021


House mice living in the wild reach a snout-vent length of 7 to 11 cm, a tail length of 7 to 10 cm and a weight of about 20 to 25 g. The white mice kept in laboratories and the fancy mice available in the pet shop can become much heavier, 45 to 60 grams are not uncommon. The body is mouse-grey to brown-grey on top, the underpart is somewhat lighter. The tail has clearly visible scale rings and is sparsely hairy.

Adult house mice have longer tails than voles. A vole's tail is shorter than half its torso (from nose to base of tail), a house mouse's tail is longer than half its rump. The incisors of the upper jaw are slightly notched.

There is a similarity to the wood mouse, which also often stays indoors. In wood mice, however, the light underpart is more clearly separated from the darker fur on the upperparts than in house mice. Unlike the house mouse, the wood mouse does not have a notch on the back of the upper incisors.


When the house mouse is not living near humans, it mainly inhabits steppes, desert areas and cultivated land. There it digs burrows and builds nests in which it stores its food. 

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hausmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


Icterine warblers are quite small, slender songbirds with rather large heads, quite strong beaks, long wings and relatively short tails. They are quite strikingly coloured compared to other tree warblers, with a brownish olive-green upperparts and a pale yellow underpart when freshly plumaged, but otherwise, like all warblers, they do not show any conspicuous markings. The sexes do not differ in size and colouration.

With a body length of 12.0 to 13.5 cm and a weight of 11 to 19 g, the species is clearly smaller than a house sparrow and only about half as heavy. In adult birds, the entire upperparts of the rump as well as the neck and head are a brownish olive-green. The wing region, the short over-eye stripe and the eye area are pale yellow. The middle coverts are dark brown, the greater coverts olive brown. The wings are blackish brown, the primaries and the tertials show narrow, the secondaries broader yellowish fringes on the outer vanes and yellowish tips. The tail feathers are dark brown with very narrow lighter brown edges. The entire underpart of the rump, the underwing coverts as well as the undertail coverts are pale yellow, the more intense yellow colouring often being restricted to the throat and forechest. Breast sides and flanks show a brownish tinge.

The iris is dark brown. The beak is clearly bicoloured; the upper beak is dark brown, the entire lower beak yellowish. The legs are leaden grey.

In juvenile plumage the upperparts are more brown-grey and less olive, the underparts paler yellow with more extensive brown flanks. The wings, tail feathers and the coverts have warm brownish edges.


The icterine warbler inhabits a wide range of habitats with loose trees and higher shrubbery, preferring multi-layered deciduous woods with a low degree of cover in the upper layer. In Central Europe, the species inhabits riparian forests and damp mixed deciduous forests, but also copses, hedgerows, cemeteries and semi-natural parks.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelbspötter). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 17 November 2021


It is a broad-headed, quite large newt. It reaches similar body lengths to the Northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus) - on average about 12 to 13 cm; in females at most over 20 cm. During the mating season, the males develop a dorsal crest that is not as high or as strongly serrated as in the Northern crested newt or the Danube crested newt. The dorsal crest is separated from the caudal margin by an incision - as in all crested newts (but compare: common newt). The upperpart appears light brownish-grey to dark brown, with dark round spots and is relatively smooth-skinned. Females in terrestrial display and juveniles often have a yellowish longitudinal line on the back. The throat is white spotted, the belly yellow or orange with dark, particularly "washed out" looking, not sharply defined spots. In contrast to the other crested newt species, the flanks are barely spotted with white. Especially the washed-out spotting and the lack of white dotting on the sides are considered the most important external identification features.


During the mating season in spring and sometimes also during the summer, the animals stay in perennial, herbaceous pools and ponds. Crested newts in general are more seasonally bound to the water body than other newts.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpen-Kammmolch). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 29 June 2021


Japanese deer are significantly smaller than red deer and are roughly the same size as fallow deer. They reach a snout-vent lenght of between 95 and 140 cm in male specimens. The height at the withers/shoulder is 64 to 100 cm, the tail is 7.5 to 13 cm long. They weigh up to 80 kilograms.

The summer coat of the Japanese deer is usually reddish brown with numerous white spots arranged in seven to eight longitudinal rows. In winter, these spots fade and are sometimes hardly noticeable, while in summer they contrast markedly with the rest of the coat colour. Japanese deer usually wear their summer coat from the end of May. They show their winter coat from September onwards.

The back of the thigh is clearly different from the rest of the coat colour. This so-called mirror is whitish and framed by darker hairs. The end of the tail is also white, with a dark line running down the middle.

There is a possibility of confusion with the fallow deer, which also has a reddish-brown summer coat with a spotted pattern. However, the shade of red in the most common colour morph of the fallow deer is a rusty shade. Older fallow deer can be distinguished from male Japanese deer by their antlers, as fallow deer develop palms.


Japanese deer are a very adaptable species of deer. They prefer forests with a dense undergrowth and are also found in wetlands.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikahirsch). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19. October 2021


With a size of up to 4.7 cm, it is only slightly larger than its sister species, the common pipistrelle. Its wingspan is around 22 cm and it weighs 5-10 grams.

When the wings are open, it is easy to see that there is a 1-2 mm wide, light-coloured fringe between the last phalanx and the foot on both sides, which gave the Kuhl's pipistrelle its name.


It inhabits forests and grasslands of temperate climates, but also rural gardens and urban areas.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weißrandfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 13 August 2021


Its chirping calls, which remind us of birds, can be heard especially in autumn during the mating season. It has a maximum body size of 6.4 cm with a wingspan of 27 to 33 cm and a weight of 12 to 23 g. It got its name from its short-haired, two-coloured back fur. It got its name from its short-haired, dense bicoloured dorsal fur. It is reddish to dark brown and silvery white at the tips of the fur. The belly is also white to greyish. The ears, wings and face are blackish brown. Their wings are narrow in relation to the body and the last caudal vertebra protrudes freely from the uropatagium. The ears are short, broad and roundish.

A characteristic of the leather-winged bat is the presence of four teats in the female. No other European species has this feature.


The leather-winged bat prefers four types of landscape, namely wooded mountains, steppes and farmland, the shore regions of lakes and, in Europe, especially the vicinity of cities.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zweifarbfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


The Leisler's bat is a medium-sized bat with a snout-vent length of 48 to 72 mm and a tail of 35 to 48 mm in length. The wingspan is 26 to 34 cm with an underarm length of 39 to 47 mm. Compared to the common noctule (Nyctalus noctula), it is clearly smaller, although particularly large females come close to especially small representatives of the common noctule with a minimum forearm length of 48 mm. Body weight is between 8 and 20 g and females are usually slightly larger than males.

In its physique and appearance, the Leisler's bat largely corresponds to the common noctule and differs from the latter, apart from its body size, mainly by its distinctly bicoloured dorsal fur. This consists of bicoloured hairs, which are dark to blackish brown at the base and distinctly lighter at the tips. The yellow-brown belly of the animal is slightly lighter than the back. In May and August there is a seasonal change of coat, which is associated with a slight change in coat colour. In summer the dorsal coat tends to be dark reddish brown to mahogany, the reddish tinge disappears in winter and the coat becomes dark grey to dark brown, and the ventral side is also slightly greyer than in summer. Juveniles are dark grey in their first year of life.

The wings are comparatively long and narrow, as in other noctule bats. The patagium is densely furred along the back and arms. The tail protrudes about one to two mm from the uropatagium. The ears are broad and triangular at the base, the ear tips are rounded. They have a size of 11.2 to 16.5 mm. At the outer edge the auricle has four to five transverse folds. The tragus is short and mushroom-shaped and thus corresponds to that of other noctule bats. Compared to the common noctule, the snout is conspicuously pointed with a slanted mouth.


The species prefers open forests as habitat and is considered a typical forest bat. It uses deciduous forests as well as mixed and various coniferous forests as habitat. The habitats differ regionally in their forest composition; in Austria, for example, the bat prefers mainly mixed oak forests, while in other areas it is found in forests with a high proportion of beech, spruce and fir. The possible habitats are also diverse in terms of management form and range from structurally rich plenter forests to simple old-growth forests. The Leisler's bat needs tree hollows both as a nursery roost and as a winter habitat and therefore occurs most frequently in forest stands with a high proportion of older trees; alternatively, artificial roosts such as bat boxes or bird nesting boxes can also increase its attractiveness.

Hunting areas are pastures close to forests, water areas and rivers. Occasionally, the Leisler's bat is also found in towns and even in larger cities. In cities, its roosts are mostly in parks and only rarely in buildings.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleiner_Abendsegler). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 13 August 2021


The lesser horseshoe bat, with a length of about 40 mm and a maximum wingspan of 250 mm, is much smaller than the greater horseshoe bat, which it otherwise closely resembles. Its upperparts are greyish brown without a reddish tinge, the underparts grey to greyish white. The young are dark grey. The species is distinctive in that it is the smallest European Rhinolophus species and its nostril has a wedge-shaped saddle.


The heat-loving lesser horseshoe bat prefers structurally rich areas at the edges of settlements in the low mountain ranges and also occurs in wooded areas. Small tunnels or tree hollows serve as summer roosts. Like all representatives of their species, the animals always hang freely, i.e. they are never hidden in crevices or holes. The highest known weekly roost of this species in Switzerland is at 1,177 m above sea level. Especially in the north of their range, they are often found in attics, near chimneys or in boiler rooms.

They prefer to hunt at night in deciduous forests and semi-open landscapes such as parks, avenues, orchards and on areas next to woody plants near water bodies and buildings. Almost gap-free structures of copses and hedges are important for orientation in flight. "Open areas of more than 200 m are hardly ever flown over."

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleine_Hufeisennase). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


The lesser mouse-eared bat is very similar to the somewhat larger greater mouse-eared bat. It reaches a snout-vent length of 62 to 71 (rarely from 54, or up to 76) mm and a weight of 15 to 28 g. The wingspan is 380 to 400 mm and the condylobasal length 17.2 to 18.5 mm. The wingspan is 380 to 400 mm, the condylobasal length 17.2 to 18.5 mm. The tail is 53 to 59 (maximum 60) mm long, the ears 19.8 to 23.5 (maximum 26) mm and the forearm 52.5 to 59 (maximum 62.5) mm. The ears are narrow and shorter than those of the greater mouse-eared bat. The anterior edge of the ears is not so strongly curved backwards and the ears taper more pointedly. The tragus is narrower at the base, lanceolate and becomes almost half as long as the ear. The outer edge of the ear has 5 to 6 transverse folds. The snout is narrower and more pointed compared to the greater long-eared bat, making it appear longer. The coat is short and the base of the fur is dark grey. The upperpart is grey with a brownish tinge, while the underpart is greyish white. Ears, snout and patagium are light grey-brown. The tragus is pale yellowish white. The patagium of the arms attaches to the base of the toes. The spur is about half as long as the uropatagium and has a narrow skin margin.


The lesser mouse-eared bat is found in warmth-favoured areas in loose stands of trees and bushes, parks, karst areas, but also in towns and villages. The species has been recorded up to altitudes of 1000 m.

They hunt in the dark or late twilight. Their flight is steady and slow, they are more agile in confined spaces than the greater mouse-eared bat. Food is probably also taken from the ground. Prey are beetles and moths.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleines_Mausohr). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 18 August 2021


The lesser white-thoothed shrew is the smallest of the three species of white-toothed shrews (genus Crocidura) found in Europe. The snout-vent length is 50 to 75, rarely up to 80 mm, the tail length 25 to 40 mm and the weight 4.0 to 7.5 g. The upperparts are brown-grey, the flanks and the underparts are grey and occasionally have a yellowish tinge. The colouration of the under- and upperparts is not sharply separated.


The lesser white-toothed shrew inhabits woodland-free, extensively used and warm open habitats such as fallow land, field and path margins, sedimentation vegetation, gardens, scree slopes and dry stone walls from lowland to about 700 m altitude. The species often lives - and in the north of its range almost exclusively - near human settlements. From September onwards, the animals increasingly migrate into buildings to hibernate there.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gartenspitzmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


The lesser whitethroat is 11.5 to 13.5 cm in length and weighs 12 to 16 grams. The upperparts are grey-brown, the crown and the relatively short tail are greyer, the underparts are white. The flanks are slightly tinged with light brown. The throat is whitish, the head is grey and the legs dark. The iris is dark, the lower eyelid is light. The grey, demarcated ear covers are the most reliable identification mark. Males and females have the same colouration. A lesser whitethroat can live up to eleven years.


The lesser whitethroat lives in gardens, parks, mountains and open woodland areas.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klappergrasmücke). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 22 November 2021


The Liechtenstein´s pine vole is slightly larger than the similar European pine vole. The snout-vent length is 84-115 mm, the tail length 27-45 mm, the length of the hind foot 15-18 mm and the ear length 8-10 mm. The animals weight 14-33 g. The coat is pale yellowish on the upperpart and reddish brown, the underpart and the backs of the feet have whitish hairs. The ears are almost completely hidden in the fur. The skullcap is slightly arched and the ear capsules are relatively large.


The relatively small range of the Liechtenstein´s pine vole extends from the Italian Eastern Alps and the extreme south-east of Austria to Istria and the north-western Dinaric Alps in Croatia. In addition, the species is also known from two isolated localities in the northern Alps. It mainly lives in clearings and small meadows with dense ground vegetation in mountain forests, but also in dry meadows and hedgerows from sea level to 1700 m altitude.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illyrische_Kurzohrmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 20 August 2021


Mallards are up to 58 centimeters long, their wingspan is up to 95 centimeters. In the period between July and August, the male wears his basic plumage and looks very much like the female. The male's beak is still distinctly yellow, sometimes with a greenish tinge, while the female's beak is orange in base colour and sometimes completely covered with dark gray to brown, sometimes only in the middle. The female has a mottled brown-gray colouration, making them well camouflaged on land. The only noticeable feature is the blue wing patch, which matches that of the male. In flight, the white edging of the blue wing patch is visible in both sexes. The plumage of the drake is gray with brown breast, brownish back, and black uppertail and undertail coverts. The head is metallic green with a white throat ring underneath, and the beak is greenish yellow. On the trailing edge of the wings is a metallic blue band fringed with white, the wing patch. The black feathers at the tip of the tail are curled up into drake feathers.


The mallard is very adaptable and can be found almost everywhere where there are bodies of water. Mallards swim on lakes, in ponds, inland waters, mountain lakes and also stay in small forest and meadow ditches.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockente). On wikipedia the text is available under a  „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“licence. Status: 17 December 2021


With a body length of 11.5 to 13 cm, the marsh tit is intermediate in size between the great tit and the blue tit.

The beak is blackish with lightened edges (possibly in contrast to the willow tit). The iris is dark to blackish brown. The glossy black head cap on adults extends over the forehead and crown, down to the middle of the eye and back into the nape. This contrasts with the white cheeks and ear coverts. The sides of the neck are brownish white. The chin and middle of the throat are black, with some of the feathers finely tipped with white. The upperparts are brown-grey, but often slightly lighter and warmer beige on the rump. The dirty white underparts are pale beige, especially towards the flanks and undertail coverts. The dark brown-grey primaries and secondaries are narrowly brown on the outer vane and fringed with white on the inner vane. The primary coverts are also dark brown-grey, the tertials dull brown-grey. Axle feathers and underwing coverts are white with a beige tinge. The tail feathers are dark brown with an olive-brown fringe on the outer vane; the outer fringe of the outer ones is lightened to whitish. Legs and feet are bluish grey to slaty.

Birds in juvenile plumage are recognisable by their dull sooty-black cap, brown-black throat patch, greyer upperparts and whiter, barely beige underparts.

The marsh tit is very similar to the willow tit. The best way to tell them apart is by their calls and song, but with a little practice they can also be distinguished by their external features. In the willow tit the head is a dull sooty black and the white fringes of the secondaries form a light field on the folded wing. Often the throat patch is much narrower in the Marsh Tit and the cheeks are less pure white. The marsh tit also appears more small-headed and round-headed overall. Other distinguishing features can vary greatly geographically. In Central Europe, the differences are slight. Here, willow tits are more conspicuous for their warm beige flanks, while marsh tits appear more "colourless".


The marsh tit prefers deciduous forests or mixed deciduous forests rich in variety and borderlines, with a large stock of old wood, sufficient deadwood and sparse undergrowth. In Central Europe, it typically occurs in mixed forests of oak and beech, but also in floodplain and marsh forests, field copses, orchards, parks, larger gardens with old trees or cemeteries. In pure coniferous or beech forests it is usually found only rarely or in marginal areas.

The name "marsh tit" is misleading, as it is by no means bound to marshy habitats. Although it reaches high settlement densities in wet forests, it avoids sites that are too wet, as well as those that are too dry or nutrient-poor. While the willow tit is usually more common in the wooded and semi-open landscapes of the floodplains, the marsh tit predominates in the closed woodland forms of the lowlands and hill country. In contrast to the willow tit, it can sometimes be found in suitable habitats within cities.

Outside the breeding season, the species is less choosy about habitats. It can often be found in coniferous woods or hedgerows in the more open countryside. It also often visits feeding sites near the edge of forests.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumpfmeise). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 17 November 2021


The marsh warbler is about 13 cm long and has a wingspan of 17 to 21 cm. The weight is about 11 to 14 grams. The upperparts are greyish brown, the underparts are yellowish white. The small bird has a whitish throat and a pointed beak. Males and females have the same colouring. The marsh warbler moves skilfully in dense vegetation and imitates the calls and songs of other bird species, which it mixes with typical reed warbler phrases. It can often be heard in late twilight and at night.


The marsh warbler lives in dense reeds, bushes and crop fields near water bodies.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumpfrohrsänger). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 22 November 2021


The snout-vent length is 65-86 mm and the tail length 40-56 mm. The animals weight 6-16 g, rarely up to 18.5 g. The fur is slate black on the upperparts, the underpart is grey to white. The species shows less strong adaptations to life in water than the similar Eurasian water shrew, a bristle fringe on the tail and hind feet is only indicated.


The Mediterranean water shrew inhabits eutrophic riparian vegetation on stillwaters, slow-flowing streams and rivers, and marshes from lowland to 1850 m altitude. Habitat use is apparently significantly influenced by competition with the water shrew. Where the Eurasian water shrew is absent, the Mediterranean water shrew lives more aquatically and also increases in size.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumpfspitzmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


American mink have an elongated body with relatively short limbs and tail. The face is flat and pointed, the toes are partly webbed as an adaptation to the semiaquatic lifestyle. An anal gland secretes a musky secretion, the smell of which is sometimes described as more penetrating than that of skunks. The soft, dense fur is water-repellent, its basic colouration is brown. The chin is coloured white, sometimes white patches are visible on the throat and belly. Through breeding, many colour variations are now available. The animals reach a head trunk length of 30 to 43 cm, a tail length of 13 to 23 cm and a weight of 0.7 to 2.3 kg, whereby the males become considerably heavier than the females. American minks can thus grow much heavier than their European cousins.


Originally, the species was restricted to North America. It occurred in Alaska, nearly all of Canada (except the extreme north), and the core United States (the 48 contiguous states) except the southwestern portions. Since the 1950s, escaped or released animals from mink farms have also spread into Europe, largely displacing the native European mink.

American mink are water-bound. They can be found along rivers and lakes as well as in swamps and marshes. However, they need shore areas densely covered with vegetation. They also inhabit estuaries and coastal islands.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerikanischer_Nerz). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 02 September 2021


The mistle thrush can reach a body length of about 26 to 29 cm. The body weight can be up to 140 grams. The mistle thrush resembles the song thrush, which, however, only grows to a maximum length of 22 cm. The upperpart is grey-brown and the underpart is white with dark brown spots. The underwing is white. Males and females have the same colouration.


The mistle thrush lives in sparse forests, parks and smaller woods in Central Europe. In the south of its range it is mainly found in the mountains, but in central and western Europe it is increasingly found in towns and villages. Most mistle thrushes migrate to south-western Europe in autumn and spend the winter there.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misteldrossel). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 14 December 2021


The montane water vole was formerly considered a subspecies of the European water vole. The European water vole, which is widespread in Eurasia and lives amphibiously, is larger and has shaggy fur; the montane water vole is a smaller, burrowing species with softer fur, isolated in certain European mountains. The upper incisors of the mountain vole protrude forward and are adapted to the burrowing lifestyle.


The main distribution area of the montane water vole is the highlands. There they make extensive burrows, usually no deeper than one metre, in meadows and pastures, more rarely in forests. They are predominantly herbivorous, feeding on plant cover in summer and on roots, root bulbs and tubers in winter.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebirgsschermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 20 August 2021


This is a rather slender, delicate brown frog with a pointed snout. The pupils are horizontal, the tympanic membrane is clearly visible within the temporal patch, but quite small (size about 2/3 of the eye diameter) and far from the eye. The metatarsal tubercle is high arched and firm, unlike the sometimes similar looking European grass frog.

The snout-vent length of males and females ranges from 5 to 6, exceptionally up to 8 cm. The upperparts are light to dark brown, but there are also reddish-brown and heavily black-spotted animals. The typical brown frog temple spot behind the eye is dark brown. A broad, light longitudinal band often runs across the middle of the back, which is dark fringed, but this may also be absent. The glandular ridges on the back often have white edges and are distinct. The flanks are sometimes conspicuously marbled in black. The moor frog therefore appears comparatively vividly marked overall; the range of variation is individually very large. Only by combining several identification characteristics is it sometimes possible to distinguish them from other brown frog species. The ventral side is whitish and usually unspotted.


The moor frog prefers habitats with high groundwater levels or periodic flood dynamics, especially fens, swampy extensive grassland, wet meadows and softwood floodplains of larger rivers, raised bogs and intermediate bogs. This is also where its spawning waters are located, which are characterised by sun exposure and partial weed coverage with sedge, rush and cotton grass fringes or floodplain grasslands. For hibernation, it visits woody biotopes, among other places.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorfrosch). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 29 June 2021


European moufflons have a body length of up to 120 cm, a shoulder height of 90 cm, a weight of 25 to 40 kg for sheep, 35 to 55 kg for rams. The European moufflon has a smooth coat, the rams are chestnut brown in summer, usually with a whitish saddleback, the sheeps are brownish. In winter both sexes are darker. The rams have snail-shaped horns up to 80 cm long.


In Central Europe, European moufflons live in deciduous and mixed forest areas both in the lowlands and in the low mountain ranges, also preferring dry and stony soils.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europäischer_Mufflon). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 October 2021


With a snout-vent length of about 35 cm and a tail length of about 22 cm, the muskrat is smaller than a nutria (Myocastor coypus) or a beaver (Castor fiber) and larger than a brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). The weight is usually between 0.8 and 1.6 kg (maximum: 2.3 kg). The muskrat has a stocky, rat-like shape. The short and thick head merges externally into the rump without a neck. The tail is almost naked and not round but flattened.

The muskrat is excellently adapted to life in the water. It has ears that can be closed watertight, with the auricles hidden deep in the fur. Although its hind paws, unlike those of beavers and nutrias, do not have webbed feet, the muskrat is a skilled swimmer and diver. Instead of webbed toes, muskrats have so-called webbed bristles: stiff hairs that grow as a fringe along the edges of the toes, thus enlarging them like paddles. The main impulse for locomotion in the water is provided by the long, strong legs and the widely spread hind feet. To control and support the swimming movement, the muskrat uses its tail, which it moves to the right and left in a horizontal plane. Its fur is very dense and water-repellent, so it can often stay in the water for long periods.


Muskrats spend most of their time in water. They are excellent swimmers and can dive for up to ten minutes. On land, however, the muskrat appears rather clumsy. The shy animal accepts almost any reasonably suitable flowing and still water as a habitat. Muskrats are usually nocturnal and crepuscular. However, as with many other species, such as the red fox and wild boar, their day and night rhythms are dependent on human disturbance. In areas where they are relatively undisturbed, they can often be seen during the day.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisamratte). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 20 August 2021


It achieves a maximum body size of around 5 to 6 cm and a wingspan of up to 25 cm with a weight of 6 to 10 g. Its appearance makes it easy to confuse with the other pipistrelle bats. A good distinguishing feature from the common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle is the 5th finger, which is usually longer in the Nathusius's pipistrelle.


The Nathusius's pipistrelle summer habitats are crevice roosts such as trunk cracks, tree hollows and rock crevices, but they can also be found on buildings, e.g. behind wooden panelling. In winter, the species often occupies wood piles or tree hollows.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rauhautfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 13 August 2021


The size of males ranges from four to seven cm, females from five to eight cm. The back is marbled brown or olive on a lighter background. The skin surface is dry and warty. The large tubercles, as well as the parotids on the back of the head, are sometimes reddish in color. A thin longitudinal yellow line usually (but not always) runs across their "cross" (the back). The body is stocky, the head sloping sharply forward, the snout rounded, the pupil horizontally elliptical, the iris lemon yellow to greenish. The hind legs are also particularly short by toad standards, so natterjack toads rarely hop, but characteristically move forward in a mouse-like crawl.


Like the European green toad, the natterjack toad is a pioneer species of warm, open habitats in areas with loose and sandy soils. The presence of vegetation-poor to -free biotopes with sufficient hiding places as terrestrial habitat as well as barely vegetated shallow and small waters as spawning sites is a prerequisite for the existence of the natterjack toad.

On the one hand, the preference for very shallow micro-waters for the deposition of the spawning cords involves the danger of drying out before the larvae have completed their metamorphosis. On the other hand, such habitats offer the advantage that they warm up very quickly and there are no predators in the water. The loud call of the natterjack toads is adapted to mating in annually changing waters - the female partner must be attracted not only to the male toad, but also to the corresponding unknown water body. Natterjack toads are found in excavation areas, inland dunes, post-mining landscapes, fallow land, construction sites, military training areas, coastal dunes, salt marshes and ruderal areas in human settlements. The species is sometimes found even in poorly structured agricultural landscapes, provided that suitable spawning habitats are available. The habitats mentioned are secondary biotopes. The natterjack toad is originally a species of floodplain landscapes, which have become very rare today due to straightening and damming of river courses and the construction of dams, where it finds optimal breeding conditions on open, dry-warm, mostly sandy sites.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kreuzkröte). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 29 June 2021


The northern bat is a medium-sized bat species. 

As in the serotine bat, the long and silky upper fur is dark to blackish brown at the base, but the tips of the hairs in adult northern bats are coloured ochre to leathery or golden from the crown to the base of the tail, contrasting with the ground colour. This effect occurs especially in the shoulder area towards the middle of the back. The nape of the neck is darker and the underpart is very light yellow-brown in colour, the transition from the dark upperpart to the light underpart being very sharply defined, especially on the sides of the neck. The snout, the cheeks, the ears and the patagium are black. The young are darker coloured and have no golden, but at most silvery fur tips, the belly is grey in them.

The ears are small compared to other bats and reach a length of 11.5 to 17.3 mm. Compared to the serotine bat, however, they are proportionally larger.

The wings are medium in width and length with a rounded wing tip, the fifth finger being almost 10 mm longer than the forearm. The tip of the tail is exposed at 3 to 4 mm with the last caudal vertebra.

In Europe, the northern bat is comparatively easy to distinguish from other bat species. Compared to the closely related serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus), it is clearly smaller. It differs from other similar species, especially the leather-winged bat (Vespertilio murinus) and the Savi's pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii), mainly by the colour of its fur as well as features of the skeleton, especially the skull, and the shape of the penis bone.


Northern bats prefer loose scrub and coniferous forests at altitudes of 200 to over 2,000 m, especially in Europe. They are also bound to more humid habitats and the vicinity of water bodies. In addition, they are bound to human settlements, as especially the nursery roosts are very often found in roofs of heated houses. Although most winter habitat finds are made in remote caves and cellars, it can be assumed that a large proportion of bats may hibernate in inaccessible places in wall coverings and roofs.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


The tiny Northern birch mouse is even smaller than the Eurasian harvest mouse. It reaches a snout-vent length of 50 to 72 mm, a tail length of 140 to 150 % of the snout-vent length and a weight of 5 to 11 g. The upperpart is yellow-grey with blackish streaking and a dark dorsal stripe, the underpart is light grey.


The Northern birch mouse prefers damp to swampy areas with a lot of cover. Except in bogs and wet meadows, it lives in forests. In the mountains it can be found up to 2000 m altitude. 

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldbirkenmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 20 August 2021


The Northern crested newt is a rather large, powerful newt with a broad head. The males reach a length of ten to a maximum of 18 cm, the females from eleven to a maximum of 20 cm. The upperparts are grey-black in colour, with indistinct darker spots or patches; the skin appears slightly warty-grained. The flanks are intensely whitish granulated at the transition to the ventral side. The belly is yellow or orange with black spots. This pattern of spots even makes it possible to distinguish the animals individually in field biology studies. During the mating season, males develop a high, strongly serrated skin crest on the back and tail, which is interrupted at the root of the tail (in contrast to the common newt). Males also have a characteristic pearly-silvery band ("milk stripe") on the sides of the tail and a more bulging, black cloaca. The females have only a low caudal fin fringe. Their orange belly colouring continues over the cloaca on the lower edge of the tail. After spending time in the water, the aquatic display, especially the conspicuous skin fringes of the males, is largely regressed in late summer, giving way to a more inconspicuous terrestrial display.


Spawning waters are mostly perennial, i.e. permanently water-bearing small ponds and pools in rather loamy, rarely sandy soils, which are exposed to sunlight for at least several hours a day. They often have both an open water zone and a richly weedy reed and submerged vegetation and are eutrophic (but not excessively eutrophic!). As this structure is also preferred by other amphibians, water bodies where the Northern crested newt occurs are often characterised by particularly species-rich amphibian communities (associations of different species).

In the vicinity of the water bodies, suitable terrestrial habitats must be available in good spatial interlocking, for example grassland interspersed with field copses, fens, deciduous forests and fringe biotopes such as riparian strips, hedges and similar. Sometimes very valuable habitat structures develop in abandoned soil mining pits. The animals like to seek shelter under stones and lying deadwood and spend the day resting there.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nördlicher_Kammmolch). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 29 June 2021


The northern lapwing reaches about the size of a pigeon at 28 to 31 centimeters in body length, and has a wingspan of 70 to 80 centimeters. Adult northern lapwings have a shimmering metallic green-gray mantle with a blue-purple shoulder patch. The belly is white in colour with a black, sharply defined breast band. The head is white with a black forehead that ends in a long two-tipped cap, called a Holle. Starting from the black beak, a blurred black band runs under the eye to the back of the head. The abdomen is washed out sandy to rusty orange in colour. In nuptial plumage, the male differs from the female only by a longer crest, a somewhat more intense black colouration, and the continuous throat patch. For a plover, northern lapwings have comparatively short legs, which are coloured dark red to brown.

In basic plumage, the chin and fore-neck are white in both sexes. The feathers of the upper hand coverts and shoulders are fringed with pale yellowish brown, creating a scale-like pattern. The crest is noticeably shorter than in breeding plumage. Juvenile lapwings look like adults in basic plumage, but also have broader, yellow-brown feather fringes as well as a distinctly lighter, brown-coloured breast band.


Northern lapwings breed primarily in open, flat landscapes with short grass or no grass at all, in meadows and pastures, preferably along the edges of water bodies, on wet meadows, heaths and moors. Northern lapwings also breed in fields. During winter and the migratory season, the birds also stay in harvested fields and plowed fields. In winter, northern lapwings can be seen widely dispersed on old pastures, but also as troops on muddy areas.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiebitz_(Art)). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 17 December 2021


The Northern mole reaches a snout-vent length of 11.3 to 15.9 cm, the tail becomes 2.5 to 4.0 cm long. The weight varies from 72 to 128 g. The Northern mole is well adapted to the underground burrowing way of life. The body shows a cylindrical shape, the neck is short and the conically shaped head ends in a pointed snout. The short tail retracts at the base, usually held upright. The broad forelimbs are short, broad and laterally oriented. All five fingers bear extraordinary claws. The hands are turned outwards, forming an effective digging tool. In contrast, the hindlimbs, which grow to 1.7 to 2.8 cm in length, appear rather graceful, the claws on each of the five toes appear much less developed.

Externally visible ears are not present. The eyes lie in a palpebral fissure. Their size is greatly reduced, but they have not completely lost their function. The soft fur, which does not have a stripe and thus does not offer any resistance during locomotion in the corridors and tunnels, is usually dark grey to black in colour with a slightly lighter tone on the underparts. However, colour anomalies occur in individual animals, ranging from white-grey silver to piebald, cream and yellow to orange and coffee brown. The limbs are hairless, as is the tail. 


They inhabit a variety of different habitats, but all have in common a thick soil layer, deep enough to create burrows and tunnels, with an abundant food supply. In general, the presence of the Northern mole is positively linked to the regional abundance of earthworms. As a result, it avoids acidic soils; the threshold value is reached at a pH value of 4.5 or higher, as the density of earthworms decreases rapidly here. It also avoids heavily industrialised regions with sometimes considerable pollution combined with a decline in soil quality. The altitudinal distribution covers the areas from sea level up to around 2700 m altitude. Originally, the Northern mole colonised deciduous forest landscapes, but today it can also be found on pastures, fallow land, in parks and in gardens. It also spreads into urban areas, whereby green spaces with a minimum area of about 10 ha are required for a permanent settlement, while the density of urban settlement around plays only a rather minor role. Accordingly, however, too small green islands with poor vegetation prevent a settlement of the mole, since on the one hand the density of prey is too low, and on the other hand parts of the urban infrastructure such as roads and kerbs often represent insurmountable barriers.


The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europäischer_Maulwurf). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 09 August 2021


It differs from the European hedgehog mainly in the lighter colouring of the chest, which stands out clearly from the brown or brown-grey surroundings. The pale sections of the underpart are almost white, and the middle of the chest is always white. The back and the top of the head are covered with spines. If attacked, it can curl up into a ball.


The Northern white-breasted hedgehog inhabits farmland, parks and gardens in rural and urban areas, and moderately overgrown forest edges. Like the related European hedgehogs, the Northern white-breasted hedgehog is a synanthropic species and occurs more frequently in cultivated landscapes rather than natural environments. The animals are nocturnal solitary animals, spending the day in a nest to forage at night. Their diet consists mainly of insects, earthworms, millipedes and ants.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nördlicher_Weißbrustigel). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 22 July 2021


The nutria reaches a body length of up to 65 cm and weighs 8-10 kg as an adult. Its round, scale-covered, barely hairy tail has a length of about 30-45 cm. The animals are thus smaller than adult beavers (maximum snout-vent length about 100 cm, tail length about 35 cm, weight 25-30 kg). On their hind feet they have webbings between the first four toes, the fifth toe is exposed. The orange colouring of the chisel teeth, which is caused by iron deposits, is also conspicuous in adult animals.

The coat colour is reddish brown, slightly greyish on the belly. Animals that have escaped from fur farms also show a number of colour variations. They have light grey, dark grey, black, brown, reddish, yellowish or almost white fur.


The original habitat of the nutria, which lives in rivers, lakes, ponds and swamps, is subtropical and temperate South America. In Austria, the population is limited to isolated, usually short-lived populations that regularly do not survive harsh winters. The species is not permanently established there.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutria). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


The pine marten's fur is chestnut to dark brown in colour, the throat patch is yellowish brown and rounded downwards and not white and forked as in the stone marten. The winter coat is long and silky, in summer its fur is shorter and rougher. Like many martens, it has an elongated body with relatively short legs, the soles are very hairy. The tail is relatively long and bushy, it serves as a balance organ when climbing and jumping. The head is characterised by the triangular, yellow-rimmed ears, the nose is dark - unlike that of the stone marten. The snout-vent length of these animals is 45 to 58 cm, the tail is 16 to 28 cm long.


Its habitat is woodland, mainly deciduous and mixed woodland. Sometimes it can also be seen in large parks. In the mountains it can be found up to the tree line. Pine martens are tree dwellers to a greater extent than other representatives of the true martens. They are very good climbers and jumpers, and can climb up to four metres. When climbing, they are able to turn their feet 180 degrees. They build a number of nests in their territory, primarily in tree hollows, but sometimes also in abandoned squirrel cobs or birds of prey nests. They retreat to these resting places during the day and go in search of food at dusk and at night.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baummarder). On wikipedia the text is available under „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 02 September 2021


The snout-vent length of the males is 4.5 to 5.5 cm - so they are only slightly larger than a European tree frog - the females are 5.5 to 6.5 cm long. The upperparts are predominantly grass-green in colour and speckled with rather regular black or brown spots. In addition, there is the typical water frog mid-dorsal line and reddish glandular ridges on the dorsal sides. Individuals with black-brownish colour pattern parts are also quite common, especially in female specimens. The iris is intensely yellow in males at mating time, as yellow body colours dominate at this time elsewhere; their vocal sacs are white. The lower legs are remarkably short in relation to the trunk; the metatarsal tubercle is large and semicircular.


The pool frog is not as strictly bound to water bodies as its relatives, the common water frog and theEuropean green frog. Typical habitats in northern Germany are e.g. bog biotopes within wooded areas. Adults and juveniles often move far away from the water bodies. Preference is given to smaller, vegetated ponds, pools and ditches as well as marshes and bogs in their vicinity. The species is rarely found in large lakes and rivers. A closer connection seems to exist regionally - especially in the north of the distribution area - to boggy, mesotrophic habitats. Due to these requirements, the species is absent from certain habitats that are strongly influenced by anthropogenic activities.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleiner_Wasserfrosch). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 29 June 2021


The pygmy field mouse reaches a snout-vent length of 85 to 102 mm, a tail length of 64 to 97 mm as well as a weight of 12 to 26 g. It has hind feet 17 to 22 mm long and ears 14 to 16 mm long. While the coat of the upperparts for western populations is described as grey-brown without yellowish tones, specimens with light sandy or reddish-brown upperparts may occur in Asian populations. In all populations there is a distinct border to the white underpart with a light grey tinge. Furthermore, the tail is divided into a brown upper side and a whitish underpart. The pygmy field mouse has white upperparts on their feets. Occasionally there is a throat patch that differs from the surrounding fur.


This rodent prefers to live in lowland or hilly areas up to 400 m altitude. However, it can reach 1400 m in the Carpathians and 3000 m in Asian mountains. The pygmy field mouse prefers to live in semi-open or open landscapes and avoids central areas of forests. It can be found on forest edges, in open forest areas with dense undergrowth, on meadows and fields close to forests or on other cultivated areas. In dry regions, it seeks the vicinity of watercourses.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwergwaldmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


Its body length is between 41 and 71 cm, not including the bushy tail, which is between 19.2 and 40.5 cm long, but usually not much longer than 25 cm. The characteristic facial markings of the raccoon with the black coloured face mask around the eyes, which contrasts sharply with the surrounding white fur, are similar to those of the raccoon dog. The slightly rounded ears are also framed by white fur. On the rest of the body, the long and water-repellent outer fur is coloured in various shades of grey and, to a lesser extent, brown. Raccoons with very dark coloured fur are mainly found in the German population, as there were individual animals with such fur markings in the founder population.

Unusual for a predator are also the five free-standing fingers, although the mobility of the front paws is not comparable to that of primate hands due to the non-opposable thumb. 


Apart from urbanised animals, water-rich mixed and deciduous forests with a high proportion of oak trees are the preferred habitat of raccoons. Here they find enough food and shelter. In case of danger, they take refuge in a tree; they therefore avoid open areas. Raccoons are good swimmers and prefer to live near rivers or other bodies of water, where they find most of their animal food.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipediaa (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waschbär). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 13 September 2021


In appearance, the raccoon dog resembles the raccoon, but differs in particular in the divided face mask. The head length of adult animals is about 50 to 68 cm, plus a tail of 13 to 25 cm. With a shoulder height of 20 to 30 cm, the raccoon dog reaches a total height of 38 to 51 cm and a weight of between four and ten kg. The soft fur is beige-grey on the flanks and black-brown on the belly and back. Raccoon dogs undergo a seasonal coat change; the winter coat and the summer coat are similar in colour, but the winter coat is much thicker and heavier. 


The raccoon dog is a very shy and nocturnal inhabitant of forests and regions with a lot of undergrowth. It´s original range includes eastern Siberia, northeastern China, the Korean peninsula and Japan. In Europe, it is a newcomer (neozoon), which was originally released in order to exploit the raccoon dog fur economically.

In Austria, the first raccoon dog is reported to be spotted in 1954 in Karlstift in the municipality of Bad Großpertholz (Lower Austria). After further sightings, the first definite record was in 1983, when an animal was caught in a trap, also in the Waldviertel in Lower Austria. It has become firmly established above all in Lower and Upper Austria as well as in northern Burgenland. Evidence is increasing towards the Danube. In the mid-1990s, it was found that the distribution limit had shifted southwards. Since 2010, the distribution has been scientifically investigated. After the first raccoon dog was shot in Vorarlberg in 2014, Tyrol is the only province from which no records have been reported.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marderhund). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 27 August 2021


The red deer is one of the larger deer species, although there are sometimes considerable differences in body size between the subspecies. As a rule, the snou-vent lenght of males is 180 to 205 cm, that of females 165 to 180 cm, plus a tail 14 to 16 cm long in each case. Accordingly, the shoulder height is 105 to 130 and 95 to 115 cm respectively. The weight also varies considerably. The red deer has a broad chest, a relatively long, slender neck and a head that narrows towards the front. The tail is 10 to 27 cm long and narrows towards the tip. The red deer has medium-sized eyes (lights), pointed ears (eaves) half the length of the head and high slender feet (legs).

The colouring of the coat varies depending on the season, sex and age. Apart from the hairs on the mouth, all hairs are changed twice a year.

In Central Europe, the summer coat begins to grow in May to June. It has a reddish-brown hazel tone, characteristic of the red deer. In September to October, the majority of red deer change to a grey-yellow to grey-brown winter coat. In older deer, this change of coat can also begin as early as August. Compared to the summer coat, the winter coat is shaggier and has denser woolly hair under the awns. The calves' coat is reddish-brown with dense rows of white spots. These so-called calf spots are covered by regrowing hair during the summer months.

Many red deer have an dorsal stripe from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. It is characteristic for all red deer that the back of the thigh is clearly different from the rest of the coat colour. The colouring of this so-called mirror is greyish white to yellowish white. The mirror is framed by blackish hairs and thus clearly set off from the rest of the back. 


Red deer prefer habitats with a close network of structure-rich forests, thickets and large open clearings. However, they can also survive well in primeval forest-like closed and scarce food forest areas or almost treeless countryside, such as in Scotland. Since the red deer occurs both in the cold high altitudes of the Alps, in the wet river floodplains of south-eastern Europe and in the hot and dry lowlands of Spain, it can be considered an adaptable species as far as its habitat requirements are concerned. 

In Central Europe, the red deer's free choice of habitat is severely restricted due to dense human settlement. Since the red deer avoids humans, it is mainly found in forest biotopes here and concentrates there on the forest areas where it is least exposed to contact with humans. Known old long-distance crossings of red deer between red deer areas are not given any special protection. From a biological point of view, today's Central European red deer areas are island-like refuges. The exchange between the different red deer areas, which is necessary for the genetic diversity of the red deer population, is not guaranteed either by law or by spatial planning. There are also no migrations between winter and summer ranges, which were originally characteristic for this deer and played a major role for its food acquisition. In individual hunting grounds, this can lead to a high density of deer with corresponding damage to the forest. 

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothirsch). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 23 September 2021


The body measurements of the red fox are geographically and seasonally dependent on strong fluctuations. 

The coat is reddish on top, white underpart; depending on the distribution area, the colour varies between reddish yellow to deep reddish brown on top and between pure white to slate grey underpart. The lower parts of the legs and the back of the ears are black. Overall, the coat colouration varies greatly. The most common colour variation is the black fox with a yellow-red upper side, white throat and white tail tip. Despite its name, the species often produces individuals with other colourings, including leucistic and melanistic individuals. The cross fox has a dark stripe across the shoulders and along the back. The silver fox is dark grey to black. The red fox undergoes two changes of coat per year. In spring, from the beginning of April, it loses the dense winter coat and at the same time the light summer coat develops. This becomes visible on the lower legs from the end of April and covers the legs, belly and flanks by the end of June. The coat change continues over the face to the back to the tip of the tail, which is reached in late August. The summer coat is not complete until September. As early as October, the winter coat forms again from the legs to the tail, back and face.


The red fox, a food opportunist, does not make any special demands on its habitat. Forests, grassland, fields and, in recent times, increasingly also settlement areas are suitable habitats for the red fox.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotfuchs). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 27 August 2021


With a length of 16-18 cm, the red-backed shrike is the smallest Central European shrike species. Males and females differ clearly in colouration.

The wing length averages 93 (91-95) mm, in the male it is between 88 and 100 mm, in the female between 82 and 98 mm. The length of the tail is between 71 and 90 mm in the male, and between 68 and 85 mm in the female. The average weight of the male is about 28 grams. In females it can increase to 32.8 grams during the breeding season and is about 28.5 grams outside the breeding season. Before migration, fat deposits can be formed and the weight increased to a maximum of 37 grams. However, this does not seem to be the rule.


The male has a rusty brown to chestnut brown back and shoulder plumage, as indicated by the name " red-backed shrike". The top of the head and the nape of the neck stand out clearly with their light blue-grey. Like other Lanius species, red-backed shrikes have a narrow, black facial mask in which the dark eye, seen from a distance, often disappears almost completely. The mask is sometimes bordered from the grey top of the head by an indistinct, blurred white supercilium, which is often slightly more pronounced behind the eye. The wing coverts are reddish brown with distinctly lighter and redder margins; the primaries are chestnut brown with lighter margins and the seccondaries unmargined dark brown. In rare cases there is a white patch. This is formed by a more or less pronounced white pattern at the base of the primaries The rump is - partly up to the lower back - grey. The tail shows a contrasting black and white, spoon-shaped pattern: the middle tail feathers are mostly black, followed by feathers with a lot of white in the upper area, which increases towards the outer tail feathers. The control feathers are narrowly white fringed at the tips. The underparts are mostly whitish to cream, often the flanks and breast are slightly tinged with salmon to pink.


In contrast to the male, the female does not have a grey upper head. The female's entire upperparts are a solid reddish brown, usually slightly less vivid than the male. The facial mask is more indistinct, usually dark brown to blackish, the eye stands out more clearly from it. The light supercilium is more prominent. The tail is mostly brown with white edges. The underparts are cream to beige in colour and show dark scales on the chest and flanks, some only hinting at them and some with strong scales ("sparrowhawk"). This is sometimes also very pale on the back. With age, the scales may fade, and the female's colouring becomes more and more similar to that of the male.


The red-backed shrike inhabits well-managed, sunny terrain with open areas of low or sparse vegetation (e.g. shrubberies, meadows, dry grasslands) alternating with scattered hedgerows or copses with less than 50 percent cover. It needs one to three metre high shrubs as roosts for hunting and territorial observation and as nest sites. Briars such as sloes, hawthorns or hedge roses are preferred, but they do not have to be present in large numbers under otherwise favourable conditions.

Accordingly, the red-backed shrike likes to colonise grassland and pastureland rich in hedges, wet fallows, partially drained moors with dam cultures, orchards as well as clearings, windthrow and clear-cut areas or young plantations within forests. In natural regions, forest edges or clearings, especially moist sites, e.g. fringes of alder swamps or willow forests, are of particular importance.

These habitat requirements are predestined for the red-backed shrike in extensively used cultural landscapes - i.e. small-scale habitats divided by hedges and copses and characterised by extensive pasture farming.

Today, the red-backed shrike can often only be found in suitable marginal areas of the cultivated landscape, for example on fallow, scrubby areas, on clear-cut areas and young plantations, even within closed forests, at landfills, gravel pits or motorway embankments and railway embankments.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuntöter). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 01 December 2021


Adult roe deer have a body length of 93 to 140 cm and reach a shoulder height of between 54 and 84 cm. They weigh between 11 and 34 kg, depending on their nutritional status. Female roe deer do not wear antlers.

Due to several characteristics, the roe deer is classified as the so-called "Schlüpfertypus". Unlike the red deer, which escapes with a fast, persistent run when disturbed and is assigned to the "Läufertypus", the roe deer seeks cover in the thicket with a few quick jumps when disturbed. It has a slightly curved and forward sloping backbone, which makes the croup higher than the withers. The antlers of the ram are relatively small. The wedge-shaped body is adapted to silently weaving through dense vegetation. The legs are slender and long in relation to the rump, the hind legs are strongly bent at the hock.

The head is short in proportion to the body length, in profile it appears almost triangular. The ears are long oval and pointed and correspond in length to about two thirds of the length of the head. The neck is slender and longer than the head. The coat is shiny in summer on the upperparts and outerparts of the body, whereby the colouring can vary individually from a dark brown-red to a pale yellow. The inside of the legs and the underbelly are lighter and more yellowish. The region around the anus, called the mirror, stands out from the rest of the coat and is usually a yellowish white colour. Rams have a small white patch on the chin and on each side of the upper lip, and there is often a white patch above the nose. The ears of both sexes are brown-grey on the outside with a dark to black rim, whereas the inside of the ear is light grey to white. The transition from summer to winter coat takes place in September and October. At first it is inconspicuous because the red summer hair covers the growing grey winter hair for a long time. In contrast, the change of coat, which is visible to an observer, is very rapid and is completed within a week in healthy deer. In winter, the colour of the coat varies between light and dark grey. Even in winter coat, the underparts are lighter than the upper parts of the body. The change from winter to summer coat takes place in Central Europe in the period from March to April. The summer hair is first visible on the head, then on the withers. 

The fawn's coat is reddish brown and initially has white spotting on the back and flanks. This white spotted pattern gradually becomes less distinct from the age of one month and disappears by the age of two months due to overgrowth by red summer hairs. Under the long red hairs, the white and brown fawn hairs are still present until the change into the winter coat.


In the forest landscape of Europe, the roe deer inhabited forest clearings, forest edge zones as well as other habitats rich in undergrowth and with few trees, such as riparian areas, deltas and reeds that do not merge into forest landscapes. The forest areas that are now interspersed or surrounded by agricultural land offer the roe deer significantly more habitat. The population density here is 10 to 20 times higher than in forest areas whose tree population has a natural age structure. Optimal roe deer habitats consist of a tightly meshed mosaic of forestry and agricultural areas and feature thickets, old-growth woods, meadows, as well as tracks and roadsides overgrown with shrubs and herbs.

Regions with harsh winters and high, long-lasting snow cover are not very suitable for roe deer, as they have difficulty moving around and reaching food in high snow. In such regions, roe deer spend the winter in sometimes relatively small areas where less snow accumulates due to topographical features. Deer are also successful cultural successors that also colonise habitats that have been heavily modified by humans. Due to their relatively small size, even small forest remnants or hedges are sufficient cover for them. Accordingly, roe deer also colonise the open agricultural steppe.


The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reh). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 23 September 2021


In German-speaking countries, sand lizards reach total lengths of about 24 cm. Particularly large animals here have snout-vent lengths of about 9.5 cm and tail lengths of about 14 cm. The largest known snout-vent length of 11.5 cm comes from a sand lizard from the Caucasus. In general, females have longer trunks, while males have longer heads and slightly longer tails. Compared to the common lizard and the European wall lizard, the animal appears plumper and much stronger. The sides of the snout are steep and high, ending blunted forward. The top of the head is flattened and separated from the sides by a ridge extending from the eyes to the nostrils. The back of the head is slightly broader than the neck and therefore set off from it. The tail is much higher than broad at its root and gradually tapers; the tip is not extended very long. (A regrown, regenerated tail is usually much shorter and less marked).

Coloration and markings are highly variable depending on the individual, sex, age stage, and season (males!). Often a "ladder-like" pattern of markings consisting of light lateral lines (parietal bands) and dark brown "transverse sprouts" (dorsal spots) with brown interspaces runs down the middle of the back and tail. In the middle as well as laterally over the dorsal spots mostly whitish, interrupted longitudinal lines (occipital line as well as parietal lines) run. The ground color of the upper head, tail and limbs is also brownish and the spots of the flanks are also white-cored. During the mating season (until June/July), the males show green colored head, rump and belly; especially in southwestern Germany, there are also animals that appear almost entirely green. Red-backed specimens are another distinctive feature. The underparts are yellowish and spotless in females, green with black spots in males. Juveniles have brownish coloration, often with conspicuous eye spots on the back and sides.


Sand lizards are anthropogenically oriented species with respect to their habitat structures. They inhabit lean biotopes such as dry forest edges, railroad embankments, heathlands, dunes, quarries, gravel pits, wildlife gardens, and similar habitats with an alternation of open, loosely vegetated sections and more densely vegetated areas. In cooler areas, occurrences are limited to sites favored for warmth. Elements such as dead wood and old grass are also important.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zauneidechse). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 26 May 2021


The Savi's pipistrelle achieves a snout-vent length of 4.0 to 5.4 cm with a tail length of 3.1 to 4.3 cm and a wingspan of 22 cm. Its weight is 5 to 10 g. This makes it one of the smaller bat species in Europe. Its fur is relatively long and yellowish to dark brown on the upperparts with a black-brown hair base and shiny hair tips. The underparts are whitish-yellow to greyish-white, clearly distinguishing them from the upperparts. The ears and snout are almost black, the wings dark brown. The young, which are able to fly, are somewhat darker than the adults and still have hardly any or no light fur tips.

Compared to the European pipistrelles (Pipistrellus), the ears are broader and rounder, they have four ear folds. The ear length is 10 to 15 mm. The tragus is short and widens slightly towards the top, it has two opposing teeth at the base and the rounded tip is turned inwards. The forearm has a length of 30.0 to 36.5 mm. The arm patagium attaches to the toe root. The last two caudal vertebrae are free at 3 to 5 mm in length.


Foraging usually takes place at higher altitudes over open woodland and over pasture and wetland areas. However, they also live in inhabited areas and, especially in southern Europe, in cities, where they catch insects around lighting systems, among other places. They also hunt near rock faces or above treetops.

They find their roosts and resting places in rock crevices, but also in cracks in buildings or under tree bark. Very rarely they are found in underground habitats and caves.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpenfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 13 August 2021


The serotine bats are characterised by a black-brown to black face, dark ears and patagium. The dorsal fur colouration varies from light smoky brown to dark blackish brown. The belly fur is slightly lighter and often yellowish brown.

With a snout-vent length between 6 and 8 cm, broad-winged bats belong to the larger European bat species. They have a wingspan of 32 to 38 cm and weigh between 14 and 35 g. They are called broad-winged bats because of their broad wings.

This species owes its name to its broad rounded wings, which make its flight silhouette characteristic and enable it to be distinguished from other species such as the noctule bats.


Serotine bat groups have up to several dozen roosts. These are changed frequently, with the optimal temperature of the roost playing a major role. Other factors are disturbance and probably droppings and parasites.

The serotine bat prefers warm crevices on and in buildings as summer habitats. These roosts may be located behind façade cladding, gutters, attics or similar.

Adult males are often found alone or in small groups in roosts. Females are usually found in the company of other females in groups of up to a few dozen. The young are usually born and nursed in the company of other females in so-called nursery roosts. When changing roosts, the bat offspring cling to their mothers. In the known large bat hibernacula (e.g. cellars, bunkers or attics), where for example Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii) or noctule bats (Nyctalus) hibernate, only single or few serotine bats are found. Little is known about the winter habitats of broad-winged bats. There are indications that some summer habitats are also used for hibernation.

The serotine bat is a dispersing species. It does not undertake long migrations.

They start hunting at dusk 20-30 minutes after sunset when they leave their roosts. The bats can cover a distance of up to 8 km to their hunting grounds on individual routes. They fly slowly (15 km/h) and at a height of 3-5 m. They often hunt in groups. They often hunt in groups, the hunting grounds include gardens, forest edges, street lamps, meadows, large individual trees or even bodies of water.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breitflügelfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status 09 August 2021


Slowworms have an elongate body, circular in cross-section, without extremities, and reach a total length of up to 57.5 cm. Most adults observed, however, tend to be between 40 and 45 cm long, with up to 22 cm of this being accounted for by the snout-vent section, and the remainder by the tail. The rather small, high head merges abruptly into the torso. The tail, which ends in a horny tip, is also not separated from the torso and is often somewhat longer than the latter. Due to the fact that the animals can easily drop their tail at several predetermined breaking points, however, quite a few specimens no longer have a completely preserved tail. Unlike true lizards, the tail section does not grow back after an autotomy. Only a very short, hemispherical stump forms. In some populations, more than half of the adults no longer have a complete tail. Therefore, for field biology body measurements, the snout-vent length - from the tip of the snout to the cloaca - is preferred. The cloaca has a transverse cleft in the slowworm.

The skin surface consists of smooth, round to hexagonal horny scales overlapping like roof tiles, which are approximately the same shape on the upperparts and underparts of the body. Several longitudinal rows of these are also present on the ventral side, and the scales there are only slightly smaller than on the dorsal side. In the middle of the torso, one transverse row includes 24 or 26 scales. In total, the torso has 125 to 150 transverse rows of scales and the tail has another 130 to 160 rows. Beneath the scales are bony platelets (osteoderms), which allow slowworms to crawl much more stiffly and clumsily than snakes. The head scaling resembles that of lizards; the pileus shields bordering the head posteriorly are relatively large. However, the ear openings are usually completely hidden under the scales. The relatively small eyes have movable, closable lids (in snakes these are fused) and round pupils. The rather short tongue is broad-two-lobed and does not run out into fine points. To tongue, i.e., to take in odorants, slowworms must open their mouths slightly, as they do not have an upper lip gap like snakes. The pointed little teeth, some of which are quite loose, are curved backward; there are 7 to 9 of them in the premaxilla, 10 to 12 in the maxilla, and 14 to 16 in the mandible. In advanced age, slowworms have often lost part of their teeth.

The extremities are completely degenerated; only in embryos are anterior leg rudiments initially detectable, but these later disappear. In adults, only small remnants of a shoulder and pelvic girdle on the spine indicate phylogenetic descent from leg-bearing ancestors.

colouration and patterns

As juveniles slowworms have a very contrasting coloration and patterning. On the silvery-white or golden-yellow upperpart a black line ("dorsal line"; sometimes this can be interrupted or missing completely) runs from the back of the head - there broadened or forked - to the tip of the tail. The flanks, like the belly, are black and thus sharply set off from the upperpart. With age, the black may lighten to gray, blue or brownish tones. The iris is dark brown in the young.

The bodies of adults have a variable ground coloration of brown, gray, yellow, bronze, or copper tones above. This coloration is interspersed with more or less distinct dark spots and lines or is also featureless. Sometimes they also show the dorsal line of the juvenile phase, although this has now broadened. On the sides, there are often four to six dark longitudinal stripes, which in turn may merge with each other, creating a color separation between the dorsal side and the flanks. The ventral side is lead-gray to black. Due to diverse patterns of dots and lines, various varieties of the slowworm have been described and named; however, these have no taxonomic significance.


In terms of habitat requirements, the slowworm is considered eurytopic, i.e. it uses a variety of different biotopes without specialization. It is often found in dense deciduous forests and their edges, hedgerows, partially drained upland moors and moor edges, and on shrub-lined bristly grass lawns, as well as in heath areas, on fallow land, meadows, along railroad embankments, log jams, roadsides, in parks and near-natural gardens on the edges of settlements; even dense coniferous forests with only small areas of sunlight are sometimes sufficient for it. The animals prefer herbaceous vegetation rich in cover and some soil moisture; in terms of ambient temperature, they are slightly less heat-dependent than many other reptiles. In keeping with its broad ecological amplitude, the slowworm can co-occur with species of more humid areas (such as the common lizard and European adder) as well as those of more arid habitats (such as the smooth snake and sand lizard).

It likes to use sheltered dry sunny places, for example on dead wood, dark humus soil and peat or on old grass bulbs, which are in the vicinity of somewhat wetter, but also easily warmable, not too shady hiding places (burrows, cavities under tree roots, lying wood, stones, plastic film or sheet metal, rock crevices, moss cushions, also leaf and compost heaps or firewood piles). In particularly favorable hiding places, several animals often find themselves at the same time.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindschleiche). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 26 May 2021


Smooth snakes are delicate, slender snakes; they reach a body length of 60 to 75, occasionally 80 cm (in isolated cases specimens of about 90 cm total length have been observed). There is no significant difference in size between the sexes. The tail accounts for 12 to 25 % of the total length. It tapers evenly and ends pointedly. Body weights of average animals range from 50 to 80 g; weights over 100 g are rarely reported. Higher weights are attained by large pregnant females. The body is cylindrical (roundish in cross-section), with the anterior and posterior sections having smaller diameters than the middle. The transition from the narrower neck to the broader head is smooth. The top of the head is flattened, and the sides and tip of the snout are rounded. The eyes are relatively small with round pupils (an important distinguishing feature from the European adder); the iris is brownish. A longitudinal furrow runs between the eye and the nostril. There are 12 to 16 teeth in the upper jaw, which increase slightly in length toward the throat, while the same number of lower teeth are all similar in length.

Regarding the head and body scaling, the following characteristics are to be mentioned: There are seven upper lip shields (supralabialia) and eight to nine lower lip shields (sublabialia) on each side. The rostral shield is large and reaches between the nostrils. In contrast to the Girondian smooth snake, it is wedge-shaped between the internasalia, which gives them a butterfly shape. The nostrils are located centrally in the nasals. The largest shields of the upper head are the two elongate parietalia. The body scales are smooth without keels. Directly behind the head they are rather roundish and small, tailward they become elongated and end pointed. On the tail they have a pentagonal to hexagonal shape, on the sides of the body they are broader than on the back. In the middle of the body, the transverse rows consist of 19 scales each. Ventral bars are present between 150 and 190, tail shield pairs between 40 and 70. The anal shield is usually divided.

The basic coloration of the upperpart is gray, gray-brown, brownish or reddish-brown. Males are dominated by brown to reddish tones, while females are often more gray. However, coloration is not a completely clear differentiator between the sexes (only the protrusion of the hemipenes of males can serve this purpose). On the sides of the head there is a characteristic dark brown stripe, which runs from the nostril over the eye to the corner of the mouth. Often it continues to the side of the neck, from where it changes into small single spots. On the top of the head a heart- or horseshoe-shaped dark spot is noticeable (the "coronet"), which often continues in two longitudinal stripes on the back, to finally dissolve mostly in two (rarely four) rows of spots. Towards the tail these spots become more and more indistinct. Occasionally, the spots may merge into transverse stripes. However, for all the variability of the dorsal spot pattern, the smooth snake does not exhibit a zigzag band like European adders have. However, movements of the snake can create such an impression.


The smooth snake is a drought- and heat-loving species that colonizes a fairly wide range of habitat types, depending on the region. While in northern Germany, the Netherlands and southern England, for example, sandy heaths, rough grasslands and dry upland moorland and forest edges are important habitats, in the central European low mountain ranges it is mainly warmth-favored slopes with rough and dry grasslands, scree slopes, dry stone walls and abandoned vineyards. In higher low mountain ranges, in eastern Bavaria or in southern Sweden, sunny forest edges in the vicinity of extensively cultivated meadows, shrub heaths, hedgerows, woodland slopes, rock heaths, semi-shrubby rough grasslands and embankments form the biotope spectrum of the smooth snake. In the alpine region, a variety of open to semi-open habitats in warmth-favorable locations are colonized. In addition, anthropogenic special sites such as railroad embankments and quarries are found everywhere. Occasionally, smooth snakes can also be found at near-natural settlement edges of villages and cities.

Common to all habitats is a mosaic-like, small-scale alternation of open, low-vegetated and partly wood-dominated sites and a high density of small structures and shelters. In the same habitat, there are usually also many lizards (especially sand lizards, regionally also common lizards or common wall lizards) and slow worms. Occasionally, the European adder also occurs syntopically.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia ( (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlingnatter). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 26 May 2021


The soprano pipistrelle is a sibling of the common pipistrelle.

It differs from the common pipistrelle in that it is slightly smaller and thus represents the smallest Central European bat species. Also, its echolocation sounds are not at the usual 45 kHz, but have a final frequency of about 55 kHz.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mückenfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 13 August 2021


In its body structure, the squirrel is adapted to a tree-dwelling and climbing lifestyle. It weights about 200-400 g. The snout-vent length is 20-25 cm. The two-lined, bushy tail is 15-20 cm long. It serves as a balancing aid when climbing and as a control tail when jumping. When running, the tail is always held in the air. The sexes cannot be distinguished by size and fur colour.

Squirrels are sole-walkers. They have four long, very mobile fingers with long curved claws on the front paws; the vestigial thumbs have a tiny nail attached. The hind legs are disproportionately long and very strong. The long, curved claws provide the squirrels with a good grip even when climbing quickly head over heels on smooth trunks.

The colour of the upperparts varies from light red to brown-black; the underpart is white or cream, neatly separated from the dorsal coat. The winter coat is much denser than the summer coat. In winter, the coat colour often becomes darker and can also take on grey tones. In the winter coat, squirrels have reddish-brown ear tufts up to 3.5 cm long. In the summer coat, these ear tufts are small or absent. In winter, the otherwise bare soles of the feet are also furred.


The typical habitats are predominantly boreal coniferous forests. Only in the European part of the range are squirrels also native to deciduous and mixed forests. As a synanthropic species, they can be frequently found in parks and gardens.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasisches_Eichhörnchen). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 August 2021


With a body length of 19 to 22 cm, the starling is somewhat smaller than the blackbird. The tail is much shorter compared to the blackbird. The wings appear triangular and pointed in flight. 

In basic plumage, the body feathers are blackish with a metallic green or purple sheen and have white to beige tips. The whole body appears brightly dotted. The wing and rrectrix are blackish brown with light brownish fringes, the secondaries also have a broad, shiny metallic fringe. The plumage is formed in spring by wearing off the light patches of the body plumage, the body is then blackish and shiny metallic. The beak is yellow in plumage and blackish in plumage. The legs are reddish brown, the iris of the eyes is dark brown.

The sexes differ only slightly, females are slightly less intensely shiny metallic in colour than males, and the dot pattern on the body is usually more prominent in females in the plumage. The base of the underbeak is blue-grey in males in nuptial plumage and whitish in females.

Freshly fledged starlings lack the metallic sheen, the body is earthy brown, only the throat is lightened to whitish. The wings and feathers are dark brown without metallic shine. The beak is dull brown, the legs dark greyish brown.


In Europe the starling is widespread, it is only absent inside large closed forest areas, in completely cleared agricultural landscapes and at altitudes from about 1500 metres. Cities are also colonised up to the centres. Highest densities are reached in areas with groups of trees rich in cavities and neighbouring grassland for foraging.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_(Art)). The text is available on Wikipedia under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 14 December 2021


Stoats have the elongated, slender body typical of many martens, with rather short legs and a short tail. In the summer coat they show the typical colouration of many weasels with brown upperparts and white underpart. In the winter coat it is completely white, with the exception of a black tail tip, which makes it clearly distinguishable from the common weasel. However, this change of coat does not take place in all parts of the range. In warmer areas, stoats are brown and white all year round, but in the far north they never lose their white winter coat. The animals reach a snout-vent length of 17 to 33 cm, the tail is four to twelve cm long and their weight is 40 to 360 g. 


Stoats inhabit a range of landscape types, although near-water habitats seem to be preferred. There is no apparent biotope attachment, instead there is a close association with the occurrence of Eurasian water voles, field voles and common voles. Structurally rich landscapes, e.g. with meadows, hedges and copses or residential gardens, are typical. Closed forests, however, are avoided. Stoats can be found at altitudes of up to 3400 m.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermelin). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 02 September 2021


Stone martens have the usual marten physique with an elongated, slender rump and relatively short limbs. The tail is relatively long and bushy. The second species of marten living in Central Europe, the pine marten, differs externally in the shape and colour of the throat patch. 

In the stone marten, this is white and often forked and can extend to the forelegs, whereas in the pine marten it is yellowish and rounded. The fur of these animals is grey-brown in colour and rough.

Other differences to the pine marten are the pale nose and the hairless soles. The stone marten is also somewhat shorter, but heavier than its relative. The animals reach a head length of 40 to 54 cm, a tail length of 22 to 30 cm and a weight of 1.1 to 2.3 kg.


As the only representative of the true martens, the stone marten is not a distinct forest dweller. It prefers open, bushy or tree-covered and often rocky terrain and can be found in mountains up to 4000 m above sea level. As a synanthropic animal, it is often seen in the vicinity of human settlements, where it stays in parks, barns or attics, which is why it is also called a roof marten or house marten.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinmarder). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 02 September 2021


The striped field mouse belongs to the smaller species of the genus Apodemus, the tail is relatively short and the ears are smaller than in other representatives of the genus. The snout-vent length is 75-115 mm, the tail length 60-92 mm, the length of the hind foot 16-21 mm and the ear length 10-13 mm. The animals weigh 14-35 g. The coat is warm reddish brown on top, only greyish brown in young animals. A narrow black stripe (dorsal stripe) runs down the middle of the back, extending from the nape of the neck to the rear of the back. The underpart is greyish white. 


The striped field mouse inhabits richly covered and predominantly moist habitats such as forest edges, bushes, wet meadows and reed banks, but also - and apparently increasingly - gardens and parks. It mainly inhabits lowlands, but occurs in Macedonia up to 1750 m altitude. In summer, the species also inhabits grain fields, in winter it is often found in barns and similar buildings.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


The tawny owl achieves a body length of 40 to 42 centimeters and weights between 330 and 630 grams. Females tend to be heavier than males. The body structure is compact, and the head appears large in proportion to the body size. Feathered ears, as in the long-eared owl, are absent. The facial disc is dark-framed and predominantly solid beige-brown. Above the facial disc there are two whitish colour lines, which are especially noticeable in the darker colour morphs. The thick beak is strongly curved and usually sulfur yellow with a horn-coloured to light gray beak base. The ceroma appears swollen and is slightly greenish. The iris is blackish brown and the pupil is blue-black. The eyelids are bald and pale red. The talons are gray at their root, then change to a horny brown and end in a black tip.

Tawny owls occur in Central Europe in a variety of colour morphs. This ranges from a gray colour variation to a brown to a rusty brown. The basic colouration of the plumage is determined neither by age nor by sex, as it was assumed for a long time. It is rather an adaptation to different habitats. The different colour morphs may well occur in the same area and also mate with each other. Pairs with different basic colouration often have young with both colour variants.

The plumage is very loose, making the tawny owl appear larger than it actually is. The upperpart of the body is generally darker than the underside. The plumage has a bark-like camouflage colouration: The shoulders and wings have bright drop spots that act like sunspots in the semi-darkness of the forest, increasing camouflage. Similar plumage colouration with drop spots is also found in a number of other birds such as scops owls, wrynecks, pygmy owls, and nightjars, which prefer to stay near logs during the day. The feathers on the top of the body each have lateral branching longitudinal stripes. This branching is denser, especially on the back and uppertail coverts, so that the plumage appears more washed out here. The wing feathers are brown, with whitish cross bands on the outer plumes and pale brown on the inner plumes.


Although the tawny owl prefers old deciduous and mixed forests, it is also frequently found in coniferous forests and in cultivated landscapes. The tawny owl is basically very adaptable and, for example, also breeds in rabbit burrows in the low-tree dune landscape of the Netherlands. It also colonizes urban habitats. Tawny owls also breed in parks, cemeteries and avenues as well as gardens with old trees. If left undisturbed, they also breed in close proximity to humans. Therefore, there are relatively frequent broods in barns or in the chimneys of old houses.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldkauz). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“licence. Status: 17 December 2021


The tree sparrow is up to 14 cm tall and weights 20 to 24 grams. The wing length is between 6.8 and 7.4 cm in males and between 6.6 and 7.1 cm in females. The male tail measures 4.8 to 5.8 cm, while the female tail measures between 5 and 5.6 cm. 

The tree sparrow is somewhat more cleanly marked than the house sparrow and is overall somewhat smaller and slimmer than the latter. The top of the head and the nape of the neck are brown, the throat bears a small black throat patch. The cheeks are white with a black spot in the ear area. The pale collar is almost closed at the nape. The top of the body is brownish with darker longitudinal stripes, which are particularly noticeable on the back and shoulders. The rump is yellowish brown, the belly and breast are brownish grey. The wings have two white bands.

Juveniles resemble adults but are more greyish brown on the top of the head. The upperpart is paler with longitudinal grey stripes, the cheek and throat patches are still sooty grey. They undergo a full moult about five to eight weeks after fledging and show their first adult plumage after an average of 77 days. The nestlings are initially naked. They have pink skin, and the throat and tongue are also pink. The beak bulges are pale yellow.


The habitat is sparsely wooded regions, forest edges, field margins, hedgerows, avenues, gardens and the fringes of settlements. In western Europe in particular, the tree sparrow is less of a synanthropic bird than the house sparrow. However, it is increasingly penetrating towns and villages and occupying the niche of the increasingly rare house sparrow.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldsperling). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 20 October 2021


With a snout-vent length of about four cm, a wingspan of about 20 cm and a forearm length of 32 to 36.5 mm, the whiskered bat is one of the smallest European myotis species. Adults weight four to seven g. Whiskered bats are darkly coloured, especially on the face, the fur is nut-brown to grey-brown on the upperpart, the underparts are grey. The ears, snout and patagium are blackish brown. Overall, the whiskered bat looks very similar to the Brandt's bat, the Alcathoe's bat and the steppe whiskered bat.


The whiskered bat is not as dependent on water bodies and forests as its larger relative, the Brandt's bat. It also occurs in semi-open to open landscapes as well as in villages. Summer habitats are found both in buildings and in other crevices, such as behind tree bark. Winter habitats are mainly in caves, tunnels and cellars. The whiskered bat usually hunts structurally at forest edges or along other vegetation. More open landscapes such as orchards or water bodies are also used for hunting.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleine_Bartfledermaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 18 August 2021


The white polecat looks very similar to the European or forest polecat, but has a lighter-coloured coat and grows slightly larger. Like all polecats, it has an elongated, slender body with short limbs. The coat has a low, yellow undercoat and some black kemps. The belly and legs are black, and it also has a black face mask.


The white polecat is mainly found in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. Its western limit of distribution is in the eastern parts of Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria. It inhabits open areas such as steppes and semi-deserts, but also lives in fields and wasteland. It does not occur at all in forests and towns.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steppeniltis). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 02 September 2021


White storks are about 80 to 100 cm tall and have a wingspan of about 200 to 220 cm. Except for the black wing feathers, the plumage is pure white, beak and legs are reddish. White storks weight about 2.5 to 4.5 kg.


The white stork, which can reach an age of over 35 years, nests on rocky ledges, trees, buildings, and power poles. It inhabits open and semi-open landscapes and prefers wet and watery areas such as floodplains and grassland lowlands. Its hunting method is highly characteristic and makes it recognizable even from a distance: it strides through meadows and marshes in search of prey and then swoops down on its prey in a flash with its beak. It can also lurk like a heron with bent legs at a mouse hole and then suddenly pounce. In shallow waters, it scours the water for prey.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weißstorch). On wikipedia the text is available under a  „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“licence. Status: 17 December 2021


The white wagtail is a slender, rather high-legged songbird with a long tail that is constantly in bobbing motion. The tail accounts for about 9 cm of the 16.5-19 cm body length. The weight is about 25 g. The beak, like the legs and feet, is black, and in basic plumage it has a horn-coloured base.

nuptial plumage

In nuptial plumage, the male's forehead is white except for the middle part of the crown, as is a section behind the eye and the sides of the head and neck. The back of the head and neck are shiny black, as are the chin, throat and forechest, and are usually cleanly contrasted with the white parts of the face and the grey back. The rump is slate to black-grey as are the uppertail coverts, of which the lateral ones on the outer vane are fringed with white. The grey of the shoulder feathers blends into the pure white of the underparts on the breast sides and flanks. The undertail coverts are also white. The tail is glossy black and, as the two outer pairs of feathers are black only at the base and inner vane, shows broad white outer edges, which are particularly noticeable when the bird flies up. In addition, the middle pair of tail feathers is narrowly fringed with white. The wing feathers are blackish brown with white to light grey fringes. The primaries are finely fringed with white, as are the primary coverts and the wing feathers. On the secondaries the outer edges become broader towards the tertials and take up a large part of the outer vane on the latter. Here they are dirty white to light grey. The greater coverts are similarly fringed, the inner ones bearing an extended white, stepped tip. The middle coverts show a broad lace fringe. The underwing coverts are dirty white.

The nuptial dress of the female is similar to that of the male, but the white parts of the face are usually not so distinct from the black and are partly greyish mottled. The black colouring of the nape blends into the grey of the back and is not sharply defined as in the male. In addition, the wing plumage is usually not as contrastingly brightly fringed as in the male. In some females the head markings may be as or similar to those of the male.

basic plumage

The basic plumage of adult birds lack the black areas on the head. They are limited to a crescent-shaped band on the breast and a partly distinct cheek patch. The forehead is dirty white to grey. The head, neck, ear coverts and cheeks are grey. The facial area may have a yellowish tinge. The rest of the plumage corresponds to the nuptial plumage. The male differs from the female only in the darker crown interspersed with black feathers.

juvenile plumage

In juvenile plumage the upperparts are predominantly grey, the back a little lighter, the top of the head and the nape of the neck a little brownish. On top behind the eye there is an over-eye stripe, which like the sides of the neck, the chin and the throat are dirty white. The ear coverts are dark dirty yellow. A crescent-shaped chest band as well as a chin stripe emanating from it are brown-black to yellow-brown. The sides of the breast are grey, the underparts white. Wing and tail plumage resemble adult plumage, but fade quickly and then show little contrast between centres and fringes.


The white wagtail inhabits semi-open and open landscapes and is found practically everywhere except in closed forest areas and densely built-up urban centres. Important here are unvegetated or short-grassed ground areas, which are needed for foraging, and the same surrounding, higher structures such as buildings or groups of trees, which have suitable niches for nesting. Preference is given to sites near water bodies - the primary habitat probably consists of muddy, sandy, gravelly or stony banks, as they occur especially in large riverine landscapes. Today, the cultural landscape offers corresponding areas on a large scale, such as pastures, fields, farm roads, asphalted areas, construction and gravel pits or open fallow and ruderal areas. The white wagtail is therefore particularly common in the vicinity of farming villages, where there is also an abundant supply of nesting opportunities. In the mountains, the species can still be found a good distance above the tree line at altitudes of up to 3000 metres.

Outside the breeding season, white wagtails can be found mainly at water bodies of all kinds, but also on ploughed fields. Communal roosting sites are usually on water surfaces in reeds or willow scrub, but also in other sheltered places. Especially birds wintering in more northerly latitudes like to seek out brightly lit places in urban and residential areas at night, which have a warmer microclimate. 

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachstelze). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 19 October 2021


Seen from the side, the body of the wild boar appears stocky and massive. This impression is intensified by the legs, which are short and not very strong compared to the large body mass. In relation to the body, the head also appears almost oversized. It tapers off in a wedge shape towards the front. The eyes lie high up in the head and are directed obliquely forward. The ears are small and surrounded by a rim of shaggy bristles. The short, stocky and not very mobile neck is only visible when wild boars wear their summer coat. In the winter coat, the head appears to merge directly into the rump. From the forehead to over the back runs a crest of long bristles that can be raised.

The body height decreases towards the hind legs. The body ends in a tail that reaches down to the heel joints and is very mobile. With it, the wild boar signals its mood by pendulum movements or by lifting. Seen from the front, the body appears narrow.

The adult male can be distinguished from the female - when viewed from the side - by the shape of the snout. While it is long and straight in the female, it appears shorter in the male.

fur of adult and one-year old animals

The fur of the wild boar is dark grey to brown-black in winter with long bristly outer hairs and short fine woolly hairs. The woolly coat covers the entire body except for some parts of the head and the lower part of the legs.

In spring, the wild boar loses the long, dense winter coat and has a short, wool-free summer coat with light-coloured hair tips. The change of coat takes place over a period of about three months and begins in Central Europe in the months of April to May. Wild boars appear much slimmer in their summer coat. Wild boars of previous years begin to change to winter coat as early as the end of July or beginning of August. In adult wild boars, the change to the winter coat does not begin until September. The change of coat is completed in November.

spotted wild boars

In free-ranging wild boar populations, individuals with black-brown to black spots of different sizes on a lighter background are frequently found. Occasionally, even black-and-white and black-and-brown-and-white spotted wild boars are observed.

fur of the juvenile wild boars

Freshly born wild boars (wild boar piglets) have a medium brown coat, which usually has four to five yellowish longitudinal stripes extending from the shoulder blades to the hind legs. On the shoulder area as well as on the hind legs the animals are spotted. The shape of the stripes and the spotting is so individual that young animals can be clearly identified. Their outer coat is still much softer and woollier than that of older animals and protects the animals less well against moisture, so that high mortality can occur in damp weather. This young coat is worn for about three to four months before the animals gradually acquire the solid brownish juvenile coat. It is coarser-haired than the young coat, but still softer than that of adult animals and also has less well-developed woolly hairs. In Central Europe, the young animals develop their first winter coat in October and November, which then also increasingly shows the grey to black colouring of adult animals. 


Wild boars adapt to a wide variety of habitats. This is due to the fact that they are omnivorous and can quickly find new food niches. Wild boar's ability to break up the ground gives them access to food that is not available to other large mammals. They are also excellent swimmers and have good thermal insulation, allowing them to adapt to wet areas. However, high snow hinders their locomotion and thus their search for food. Therefore, wild boars are absent in high mountainous areas.

In climatically temperate Central Europe, wild boars develop the highest population density in deciduous and mixed forests, which have a high proportion of oaks and beeches and in which there are marshy regions and meadow-like clearings.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildschwein). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 16 September 2021


In appearance, the wildcat is more massive and muscular than the domestic cat and it has longer legs in relation to its body. Adult male wildcats have a snout-vent length of 55 to 65 cm, a tail of 27 to 32 cm and a weight of 3.8 to 7.3 kg. Females are much smaller with a snout-vent length of 47 to 57.5 cm and a tail length of 25 to 32 cm and a weight of 2.4 to 4.7 kg.

The basic colouring of the coat varies from yellowish-brown to reddish-grey to silver-grey. On the back there is often a typical, continuous black dorsal stripe ending at the root of the tail. The back and sides of the body are more or less heavily patterned with washed-out stripes. The stripe pattern is usually more pronounced in the west of the range than in the east. The tail is thick and relatively short, has a typical ringing with three to five dark rings and ends bluntly, always with a black tip. The skull is similar to that of the domestic cat, but with room for a larger brain. The eyes are wide apart. There is a small black spot on the sole. Another distinguishing feature is the light-coloured nose leather (pink).


European wildcats live mainly in forests. Large populations occur in deciduous or mixed forests that are not disturbed by humans. They also live along coasts, at the edge of marshes, in riparian forests and in the Mediterranean maquis. They avoid areas with intensive agricultural use, pure coniferous forests, very high mountains, coastal regions without cover or areas that are more than 50 % snow-covered in winter, where the average snow depth is more than 20 cm or where the snow cover remains for a period of 100 days or longer.

In Austria, wildcats were formerly widespread in the Alpine foothills of northern, eastern and southern Austria. In the second half of the 19th century, populations were severely decimated and since then only a few specimens have been recorded. They were considered extinct, extirpated or lost in Austria, and only a few years ago there was no evidence of a resident reproducing population in Austria. However, in recent years there have been increasing reports of sightings south of the Danube and evidence of an occurrence in the Thayatal National Park was found.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europäische_Wildkatze). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


The willow warbler is about eleven to thirteen cm long and has a wingspan of 17 to 22 cm. The weight is about eight to eleven grams. It is difficult to distinguish in appearance from the common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita). Its upperparts are green to olive-brown, its underparts yellowish-white. The small bird has a yellowish throat, breast and over-eye streak. Males and females have the same colouration. 

A willow warbler can live up to twelve years.

difference to the common chiffchaff

In Central Europe, the willow warbler is easily confused with the very similar and also common common chiffchaff; they are sibling species. The willow warbler is somewhat more slender and long-winged than the common chiffchaff. The legs of the willow warbler are usually much lighter, the supercilium is longer and more pronounced, especially behind the eye. The primaries projection, i.e. the projection of the primaries over the tertials, is much larger in the willow warbler. Furthermore, in the common chiffchaff the fifth primary has a narrowing on the inside of the outer vane, which is absent in the willow warbler. However, this distinctive feature can only be recognised if the birds are held in the hand.


The long-distance migrant is present in almost all of Central and Northern Europe from April to September. The willow warbler lives in sparse deciduous and mixed forests, parks, wetlands, shrublands and gardens.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitis). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 22 November 2021


Basically, the wolf resembles a large domestic dog, with a longer rump and a higher but narrower thorax compared to similarly built domestic dogs. Wolves are comparatively slender with long legs. The head is relatively large with a broad forehead, long snout and short, upright carried ears, densely furred on the inside, pointing forward. The eyes are set obliquely and are also oriented forward. The bushy tail is about one third of the snout-vent length.

Body sizes and weights of wolves vary greatly due to their extensive range. Wolves reach snout-vent lengths of mostly 1.0 to 1.6 m and tail lengths of mostly 35 to 56 cm. The weight, which is also very variable within subspecies, is usually in the range of 13 to 78 kg; weights over 60 kg are rare. The shoulder height measures 66 to 91 cm.

Colouration is very variable, there are white, cream, yellowish, reddish, brown, grey and black wolves. In the temperate zones of Europe and Asia, greyish-yellow or brown-grey wolves predominate. Dark fur usually predominates on the back and tail. The belly, legs and snout are usually much lighter in colour. 


Wolves inhabit a variety of habitats. Their high adaptability allows them to live in the Arctic tundra as well as in the deserts of North America and Central Asia. Most wolves inhabit grasslands and forests; they also inhabit wetlands, scrublands, cultivated land, rocky regions and mountains up to 2400 m altitude. Wolves became known primarily as forest animals because humans drove them out of more open landscapes early on in large parts of their range.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 31 August 2021


The wood mouse belongs to the smaller species of the genus Apodemus. The ears are relatively large, the eyes very large and clearly protruding. The snout-vent length is 80-110 mm, the tail length 70-115 mm, the length of the hind feet 20.0-23.5 mm and the ear length 15-20 mm. The animals weigh 13-36 g, mostly 18-25 g. The coat is yellowish to brownish grey on top, with a reddish brown overcoat on older animals. The underpart is dirty white, the demarcation to the upperpart colouring is not very clear. The thoracic pattern is absent or only a yellowish brown, longitudinal oval spot. The hind feet have white hairs on top. There is a danger of confusion, especially with the yellow-necked mouse.


Contrary to its name, the wood mouse inhabits mainly fringing biotopes of the agricultural landscape in most of its range, especially hedges, fallow land, ditch margins and water banks, but also parks and gardens. In the north-east of the range, the species is largely restricted to these areas and at most inhabits very open, dry coniferous forests here. In the west and south of the range, wood mice also occur in closed upland forests. The main reason for the absence in forests in most of the range is apparently their extensive colonisation by the larger and more competitive yellow-necked mouse.

Wood mice often enter buildings and also use façade vegetation to get under the roof covering.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 August 2021


Woodpigeons are large, robustly built pigeons with relatively long tails and rather small heads. With a body length of 38-43 cm and a wingspan of 68-77 cm, they are the largest pigeons in Central Europe. Sexual dimorphism is weak in terms of size and weight, males are slightly larger and heavier than females. 

In adult woodpigeons, the anterior dorsum and shoulder area are slate gray to grayish brown, the rest of the rump is blue-gray on top. The crop area and breast are diffusely grayish wine-red, becoming lighter toward the belly and very light gray in front of the undertail coverts. The head is blue-gray. On the sides of the neck and nape there is a green metallic shimmering band from top to bottom, then a white patch on the sides of the neck only, and then again on the sides of the neck and nape a shiny purple band. The inner secondary coverts, the large primary coverts, and the alula are slate gray. The outer vanes of the outer secondary coverts are predominantly white and the outermost secondary coverts are completely white; this creates a striking white band on the upper wing. The primaries are blackish gray, the outer vanes of the 1st to 9th primaries have a narrow, sharply defined white fringe, this fringe is only diffusely defined on the 10th (outermost) primaries. The secondaries are predominantly ash-gray. The rectrix are broad blue-gray at the base above, followed by a diffuse light gray subterminal band and a broad black terminal band.

The beak is pink to red at the base, orange to yellowish at the end with a horn-coloured tip. The fleshy membrane over the nostrils is white. The legs and toes are light to dark red. The iris is light yellow.

The sexes are very similar externally. Females show less red on the chest and the white spots on the sides of the neck are slightly smaller. 


Woodpigeons inhabit wooded landscapes of all kinds; if necessary, single trees or bushes are sufficient for a settlement. If these are also missing, the animals breed e.g. in dunes, on beach meadows or in grain fields also on the ground. Breeding in populated areas has been known in Europe since at least 1821; today, woodpigeons breed in avenues, parks and cemeteries, often even in the centers of cities. The breeding sites should not be too far away from suitable feeding habitats; in Europe today, these are mainly agriculturally used areas such as grassland and fields, but also forests and green areas used for breeding. Depending on what is available, foraging flights may be limited to the nest vicinity, but may also occur regularly over distances of 10 to 15 kilometers.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringeltaube). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“licence. Status: 17 December 2021


The yellow bunting reaches a body length of 16 to 17 cm and weighs 25 to 30 grams. During the breeding season, the males wear a yellow nuptial dress with a bright yellow head with a few brownish stripes, a yellow underpart with a reddish breast and brownish-grey wing coverts. The upperparts are brown with darker longitudinal stripes, the rump is cinnamon brown. The tail is dark, in flight the white outer edge is noticeable. Females are more inconspicuous greenish brown, but still with yellow tendencies on the throat and underparts. In plain dress, the males resemble the females.

The yellow bunting can be distinguished from the similar-looking cirl bunting by its cinnamon-brown rump.


Yellow buntings live in open cultivated landscape with copses, hedges and bushes. In winter, they move around in large mixed troops and search for remaining seeds in fields.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldammer). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 22 November 2021


The size of males and females ranges from 35 to 56 mm; however, snout-vent lengths of more than 45 mm are rarely observed in Central Europe. The upper parts are clay to grayish brown, with narrow darker glandular complexes and washed-out light spots sometimes visible in the nape area. The underparts, including the inner sides of the limbs and the fingers and toes, are intensely colored light yellow to orange and interspersed with lead-gray to black spots or areas. Mostly the yellow part is more than half of the surface (occasionally also animals with almost completely yellow belly side occur; but also completely black ones were observed). Because the pattern of the underparts are different in each animal, this allows an individual differentiation - for example in the context of zoological investigations. Yellow-bellied toads have a stocky body, which is not quite as flattened as in the related fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), and a rounded snout. The pupil is heart-shaped, and the tympanic membrane is not externally visible. The upperpart has numerous tubercles with raised black horn spines.


The yellow-bellied toad is one of the amphibians with a close aquatic relationship. Originally, the species was a typical inhabitant of stream and river floodplains. Here, it colonized the temporary small water bodies that were constantly being created depending on the dynamics of the floodplain. Also in its civilized replacement biotopes it prefers temporarily water-bearing small and very small bodies of water on clayey ground, such as tractor tracks, puddles and small water ditches. Usually these are low in vegetation and free of competing species and predators. Rapid warming of the waters ensures rapid development of spawn and larvae. Today, this pioneer species is mainly found in quarries, clay or gravel pits, and military training areas.

The high mobility of the juveniles favors the spontaneous colonization of newly developing habitats. On land, the animals seek hiding places under stones, dead wood and in gap and crevice systems of rocks. Predominantly crepuscular and nocturnal, they hunt insects (beetles, ants, bipeds, etc.). Their predators include backswimmers, water boatman, large dragonfly larvae, newts and sticklebacks (for the tadpoles), and birds such as magpies and also blackbirds (for the juveniles and adults).

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelbbauchunke). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 25 June 2021


The yellow-necked mouse belongs to the medium-sized species of the genus Apodemus. The ears are relatively large, the eyes large and prominent. The snout-vent length is 88-130 mm, the tail length 90-135 mm, the length of the hind feet 22-27 mm and the ear length 15-20 mm. The animals weight 16-56 g, mostly 26-36 g. The coat is warm reddish or yellowish brown on top. The underpart is almost pure white; the demarcation to the upperpart colouring is very clear. A chest pattern is usually developed in Europe as a continuous yellowish-brown collar. The hind feet have white hairs on top.


Yellow-necked mice are largely forest-bound. Older deciduous forests dominated by beech and oak are considered optimal habitats. They also live in hedgerows and gardens with many trees. In autumn, yellow-necked mice often invade buildings. The altitudinal distribution ranges from sea level to about 2100 m in the Alps.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelbhalsmaus). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 23 August 2021

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