Why Vienna is a haven for wild animals - and where you can find them
Despite being Austria's capital and by far its largest city, Vienna retained much of its green areas. The wildlife appreciates it.
Vienna is Austria's capital and one of the five most populous cities in the European Union. Still, one of the reasons why it often tops quality of life lists is how green it is.
Vienna is definitely one of the best cities to live not only for humans but also for wild animals.
Though Vienna is home to the world's oldest zoo, Schönbrunn Zoo, it is possible to find wild animals all over the city. There are hundreds of sightings of foxes, hedgehogs, deer, and much other unique wildlife literally walking on the Viennese streets - but particularly in the capital's parks and green areas.
Here are five of the most common wild animals in the city - and a few places where they can be found.
Foxes are a particularly beloved wild animal, and even though they are nocturnal and shy, many Viennese have already seen one or two striding by in the city.
They can be spotted in parks, including Schönbrunn, but also sometimes on the city streets and private gardens. A few use basements as breeding sites, and entire families have even been (adorably) caught on camera.
The wild boars are also timid but primarily diurnal animals. They are more common in lowlands and floodplain areas and can be spotted in a few Viennese parks, including the Vienna Woods.
Boars are generally harmless, but if threatened, especially when they have offspring, they could become dangerous. Therefore, hikers are asked to be particularly careful during the spring months, when boars care for their newborns, and always walk with dogs on leashes.
Deers are also very lovable and shy diurnal animals.
They can be seen in the wild in many parks in Vienna, including Prater and Lobau. One place to see them almost guaranteed is Lainzer Tiergarten, where they are in a protected and fenced environment. They also famously stroll through Vienna's Central Cemetery.
Beavers are busy animals living close to water areas. They are not as common in Vienna but have been seen in some areas of the Danube - though their constructions are more easily spotted. According to Vienna's Tourist Information, there are 200 beavers in the Lobau.
Rabbits, hares, and snow bunnies are very common in Vienna as well, but the fast animals are not so easy to spot. They are more commonly seen by dusk, and in large fields, like Marchfeldkanau or on the capital's outskirts.
Other popular animals
Many species of small mammals can be found even in regular Viennese streets.
Squirrels, of course, are easy to spot, especially in parks like Stadtpark or even small neighbourhood parks.
The nocturnal hedgehogs are also very popular in Vienna and can be seen even on busy streets at night - just watch the green areas carefully.
Just like hedgehogs, bats can also be observed on the Vienna nights, almost everywhere where there are trees (so, almost anywhere in Vienna). However, there are no blood-sucking bats in Europe, and these Viennese inhabitants eat almost exclusively insects.
Vienna is also host to dozens of bird species (including woodpeckers, and you can hear them in the city), countless bugs, and numerous plant species. Different species of ducks are also very popular and common in parks with bodies of water, including Danube parks and Stadtpark.
Though all these animals can seem quite cute and even harmless, wild animals should never be approached; they should never be fed. For their own good, they must keep a dose of fear from humans to keep them from approaching people, their pets, and their trash.
If you see a wild animal, in most cases, you should leave it alone and not approach it. However, if necessary, you can also get advice and help by calling Vienna's wildlife service, especially if you see an injured or distressed wild animal.
The number is +43 1 4000-49090, and they are available daily (including weekends and public holidays) from 7:30am to 10pm.
Outside these hours, you can contact the wildlife service in acute emergencies via the permanent technical assistance of the city of Vienna, telephone: +43 1 4000-8280.
You can also find more information about Wildlife in Vienna at the Stadt Wien website.
Useful vocabulary (and proof that the German language is fantastic)
Fox - Fuchs
Wild boar - Wildschwein (Schwein also means pig)
Deer - Reh
Beaver - Biber
Wild bunny - Wildkaninchen
Squirrel - Eichhörnchen (and one of the best German tongue-twisters)
Hedgehog - Igel
Bat - Fledermaus (this literally translates to flying mouse)