The nature in Germany
32 percent of the German land area is covered by forest. The most common trees are spruce, followed by pine, red beech and oak. About 50 percent of the land is used for agriculture. So there are fields and pastures here. Different plants and animals grow there than in the forest or on lakes, rivers and streams.
Still others can be found in moors, in the heather and on the mountains. The Alps have their very own flora and fauna. Numerous national parks and nature reserves have been set up to protect nature. 10,300 types of plants and 14,400 types of fungi were counted in Germany in 2013.
Which animals live in Germany?
According to Countryaah, 48,000 animal species have been counted in Germany. Of these, 30,000 are insects. Mammals, on the other hand, only occur in 104 species, birds at least in 328. Amphibians live here in 21 species. These are salamanders, toads, frogs, newts and toads. Reptiles come in 14 types. These are lizards, turtles and snakes.
Unfortunately, many animal species in Germany are threatened with extinction. You are on the “Red List”. This shows animals that are no longer so common. The habitat of these animals has been dwindling for decades. Forests were cut down, moors were drained and rivers straightened. Fertilizers and pesticides were used in agriculture. More and more animal and plant species disappeared. A third of the species occurring in Germany are on this red list!
Animals in the forest
In the forest, most living mammal species in Germany. These include roe deer, deer, martens, wild boar, lynx and foxes. Large animals like brown bears and bison were exterminated in earlier times. Bison has been resettled in the Rothaargebirge, wolves sometimes come to Germany from Poland or the Czech Republic. There is a heated argument about the wolves in particular. Some are happy about the return of this animal species, others see humans and animals as threatened.
What is flying there?
Birds fly through Germany in large numbers. On the coast there are sea birds like seagulls and now again sea eagles. The common buzzard and kestrel are the most common birds of prey. Red kites can also be seen. The golden eagle, on the other hand, only occurs in the Alps. Cranes can be seen in large numbers on the Darß in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Many birds have also followed humans into the cities. You will find pigeons, blackbirds, sparrows, tits and crows there. You may have seen robins and great spotted woodpeckers before. Did you know that even flamingos live in Germany, and not in the zoo, but freely? In the Zwillbrocker Venn on the border with the Netherlands they breed with around 40 animals.
All kinds of migratory birds also live in Germany. They move to warmer areas in autumn, especially Africa. They return in spring. The migratory birds include, for example, the white storks. They cover 4600 kilometers in their bird migration! It only takes them about three weeks to do this. White storks fly mainly during the day because they use the warm air that then rises. Other migratory birds are the gray goose and the crane. They like to form formations of a “V” during flight. The bird flying in front changes regularly – that saves energy.
Animals in and around the water
Beavers and otters are found in the floodplains. After their number had fallen sharply, they are now increasing again. Seals live on the coasts of the North and Baltic Seas. Harbor porpoises and seven other whale species swim further out.
Many animal species that are native to Germany today did not originally come from here. People either brought them with them, sometimes involuntarily, for example in their flight luggage, or they immigrated from other countries. They include the raccoon, which actually lives in North America and escaped or was released from enclosures in the 20th century.
Another neozoon, as such animals are called with a foreign word, is the ring-necked parakeet. He too escaped from captivity and spread. Ring-necked parakeets live mainly on the Rhine, for example in Cologne, Düsseldorf or Worms, but also in Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Other such animals are the raccoon dog and the American crayfish.
Endemics in Germany
Among the many animal species that live in Germany, are there also those that only live here with us? And what about the plants? Species that only occur in a limited area are called endemic. Some countries are very species-rich and also have many such endemics, Brazil for example or Spain. In Germany, however, the climatic and geographic conditions are not that different from those in many other Central European countries. That is why there are few endemics here. In addition, many species are already extinct or are threatened with extinction because their habitat is being destroyed and the environment is polluted.
Endemic plants have been found in 42 species. That is little. In Spain their number is more than 500. The Bavarian feather grass, for example, only grows in Germany or Bavaria and there only on a rock near Neuburg an der Donau.
The only endemic mammal in Germany is now likely to be the Elbe beaver. This subspecies of the beaver lives in the Elbe, as its name suggests. Because it was persecuted for many decades, it was also threatened with extinction. Then they started to resettle him and so there are again several thousand Elbe beavers living in Germany. The Harz alpine shrew, however, is probably extinct.
Eleven species of fish are also endemic, for example the whitefish in Drewitzer See, the Lucinian whitefish in a lake in Mecklenburg and the Stechlin deep vendace in the Stechlinsee in Brandenburg.
Incidentally, it is mainly insects that are endemic to Germany. The Moselle Apollo butterfly flies around in the Moselle valley. A subspecies of the double-tailed and one of the springtail are also endemic, they belong to the hexipedes. The Baden earthworm lives in the Black Forest.