What’s swimming there? 5 Animals You Wouldn’t Expect in Weser


Most often seen on the North Sea coast, rare in Weser: seals.

Photo: DPA | Jeans Patner

Common seals, gray seals and otters – animals normally found elsewhere in Weser are often seen. We explain how this happens.

1 seals

On the North Sea coast, seals are not uncommon on land either. But here in town? Indeed! Seals can also be spotted in and around Weser from time to time. Seal recently visited the Hansa rowing club in Bremen on its dock. His face is supposed to be familiar, because some rowers have also encountered a seal many times before in the water.

The seal sticks its head out of the water
Seals are more likely to be seen in the Weser River in summer.

Photo: DPA | Sputnik | Alexey Danishev

However, seals are not original to Weser, they only come as visitors. Like porpoises, they are very curious and therefore sometimes follow their food in the Weser. Anyone who wants to see a seal in Bremen has the best chance in summer on a sandy beach like Café Sand. Nearly half of harbor seals in the Wadden Sea died of tuberculosis in 1988 and 2002, but numbers have recovered in recent years. However, encounters with petty thieves are still strokes of luck.

2 porpoises

Piglets have also been spotted in the port of Bremen from time to time. Near Überseestadt, in the city, in Weser Weir or in places along Weser and in Bremerhaven. They are the only whales native to German waters, yet they don’t really belong to the Weser, do they? Yes, Dennis Wegner of Verein Schweinswale eV explains: “The appearance of baby whales in Weser is completely normal. They have not lost their way and usually do not need rescuing. Small whales are especially curious and often follow larger migrations of fish that prey on them indoors.”

porpoise under water
He follows his prey at Weser from time to time: the porpoise.

Photo: DPA | Winfried Rothermill

However, the small voyage is not without risk: large container ships displacing a lot of water can push small whales ashore. In addition, the noise disturbs the direction of the whales through acoustic signals. If they then appeared to get their directions with their eyes, the risk of them colliding with the ship increased. In addition, the quality of Weser’s water leaves much to be desired. This is mainly influenced by agriculture and promotes skin diseases in whales.

If you want to see porpoise in Bremen, you have the best chances from March to May. At this time they can be found frequently at Elsflether Sand or near Brake or Harrierand. Here are their prey’s spawning areas, their scent, and their smell. However, as with seals, there is no guarantee of success, because the animals hardly differ in color from the water and are often outside and at night.

3 gray seals

Gray seal head sticking out of the water
Germany’s largest predator sometimes goes on a trip to Weser: the gray seal.

Photo: DPA | Cromorang | Dieter Moebus

Gray seals reach a length of 2.50 meters and a weight of up to 300 kilograms. They are the largest predators in Germany, and they also occasionally frequent the Weser River. An adult animal eats up to six kilograms of fish and other marine animals every day. As a supposed competitor to fishermen, gray seals in the North Sea were almost exterminated for a long time, but today there are many colonies with young people in the Wadden Sea again. Since the first recorded birth of gray seals on the Heligoland dunes in the winter of 1996/1997, the number of births has increased every year. Also in the current calving season, Heligoland gray seals set a new record.

However, gray seals rarely explore the Weser River. Like seals and porpoises, it is brought mainly to the Weser River by prey fish. As with seals, the chances of seeing them are best in the summer.

4 beaver

The largest rodent in Europe has now been seen in Bremen. The beaver swam at the level of Wesser Stadium and also climbed to the ground there. A beaver has never been seen in this city. why? This is due to the extent of the ebb and flow, explains Bremen professor of biology Heiko Bronken. The level difference in Weser is about four metres. As a result, beavers do not have the opportunity to build their own caves, because they will drown again and again.

beaver grooming
The largest rodent in Europe does not feel comfortable in the Weser River, but still crosses it from time to time.

Photo: DPA | imageBROKER | Dieter Malki

So the beaver will not settle on the Weser River, but it can still take its home in Bremen. Canals between settlements or industrial plants will be a convenient place that will also provide enough food.

But would that be desirable? Aren’t beavers a threat to our dams? According to Professor Bronken, you don’t have to worry about that at the moment. In order for it to become a problem for humans, beavers would have to appear in large numbers which is currently unexpected.

On land, beavers are easily recognizable by their flat tails. On the other hand, they are often confused with water. The liqueurs and feeders are very common in Bremen and look very similar to beavers. However, beavers are much larger and can reach the size of a small dog.

5 beaver

Sea otters are native to the Wümme and Hamme region and sometimes cross the Weser. However, since it is nocturnal, it is especially difficult to identify it. The animals are quite large, they can measure up to 130 centimeters and weigh eight kilograms. The endangered animals have regained control of Bremerhaven in recent years, but last summer the Nature Conservancy also photographed the otter at Geestemunder Markfleth, just outside the designated conservation area.

otter in water
They took Bremerhaven as their home and sometimes swam across the Weser River: otters.

Photo: DPA | Patrick Bloll

There, bridges, among other things, are a problem for otters, although they are among the best swimmers among carnivores, they do not like to swim under them and prefer the wild path. However, busy roads are especially dangerous here.

So, Oldenburg environmental science student Nora Melchert researched the danger of bridges to otters. As part of the project, she created profiles for Bremerhaven bridges, which assess potential risks. Possible solution to the problem: the so-called “embankment”. These are little otters bridges under traffic bridges that bring otters to their destination safely.

More about animals:

This topic is in the program:
Biotin on Benin, January 26, 2022, 7:30 p.m.

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