SHARE
COPY LINK

VIENNA

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.

red fox in the woods
Foxes are some of Vienna's wild residents that can be found all over Austria's capital (Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash)

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.

READ ALSO: Six of the best things to do in spring in Vienna

Here are five of the most common wild animals in the city – and a few places where they can be found.

Foxes

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.

Wild boar

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.

Deer

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.

READ ALSO: The best spots to recharge on the weekend in Vienna

Beaver

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.

Bunnies

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.

READ ALSO: Here are over 20 things you can do in Vienna for free

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)

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

DISCOVER AUSTRIA

Donauinselfest: What you need to know about Austria’s biggest open air festival

Austria has the largest free open-air festival in Europe, and the Donauinselfest is taking place this weekend. Here is what you need to know.

Donauinselfest: What you need to know about Austria's biggest open air festival

The Austrian Donauinselfest is known as the largest free open-air music festival in Europe, and it happens yearly on Vienna’s Danube island. The festival attracts around three million visitors over its three days of events and is starting on Friday in the Austrian capital.

The festival has been taking place yearly since 1983 on the 21.1-kilometre river island. This year, it has 14 different areas and 11 stages, according to the official website. Visitors can expect more than 600 hours of program.

READ ALSO: The best festivals and events to enjoy in Austria this summer

Here is what you need to know to enjoy the programme fully.

When and where is the festival?

The festival has an extensive range of events starting on Friday, June 24th, and lasting until Sunday, June 26th. It takes place on the island between the new Danube and the Danube rivers, known as the Donauinsel.

READ ALSO: 7 things to know about driving in Austria this summer

It is easily accessible via the U1 (Donauinsel station) and U6 (Handelskai station) metro and there are no parking spaces available near the festival site.

Admission to the event is free.

The festival is back after the pandemic

After two years of reduced capacity and many Covid-19 restrictions, the Donauinselfest is back to (almost) normal. There is no limit to the number of visitors, no requirement to show proof of vaccination or recovery from the disease, and no mask mandate.

However, the authorities have asked that people take “personal responsibility” as coronavirus infection numbers have been rising.

READ ALSO: Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer

The organisers have requested people to get tested before visiting the vast festival, Vienna.at reported.

People gather on the shores of the Danube river, in Vienna during a hot sunny day and Danube Day on June 29, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN

“We ask everyone who would like to visit the Donauinselfest this year to take a PCR or rapid test in advance and thus protect themselves and others. People with symptoms are not allowed to enter the festival grounds.”, said organiser Matthias Friedrich.

Though masks are not mandatory, they are recommended on-site if it is too full of people and no social distancing is possible. Besides, there is a masks requirement to all Donauinselfest workers in indoor areas.

Watch out for what you cannot bring

There is an extensive list of things that are not allowed on the festival site. For example, visitors are not allowed to take large bags and backpacks (“A3 format”, according to the website). However, a gym bag is not considered a backpack.

Animals, including dogs, are prohibited – except for guide dogs and service dogs.

You are also not allowed to bring umbrellas, alcoholic beverages, cans, glass bottles, or drones. The list of prohibited items includes “propaganda material”, spray bottles, whistles, large or bulky objects, bicycles and skateboards, stools and chairs, food and more.

Check out the complete list here.

Danube festival

Vienna’s “Danube-island” Festival will return this weekend. (Photo by DIETER NAGL / AFP)

READ ALSO: Forecast: Austria set for high temperatures and storms throughout weekend and beyond

You can – and should – bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as temperatures are expected to be around the 30Cs over the next few days.

What kind of music is there?

The festival has several stages and a broad programme selection. The bands are usually more regional, with a significant presence of Austrian, German, and Italian bands.

You can find all sorts of music, from pop to rock, rap, and techno. There are even tribute bands like Break Free, which will play Queen’s best signs on the rock stage.

The program includes other activities as well, such as poetry slam, art stages, sport areas, and even events for families and children.

You can check the official program here.

SHOW COMMENTS