Animals in the Palatinate Forest do well in spring after a mess of snow – SWR Aktuell

The sudden onset of winter, which caused so much havoc in the West Palatinate over the weekend, did no harm to the animals in the Palatinate Forest. The prolonged frost could have caused more damage.

But because of the snow thaw again the next day, the forest dwellers may have been able to adapt well. This says Ulf Hohmann from the Institute for Research into the Environment of Forests and Forests in Tripstadt.

flight city

There is no reason to worry that the first hibernation is already on tour again. This says the Research Institute for Forest Ecology in Tripstadt.
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In the morning

SWR4 Rhineland-Palatinate

Hibernation in the Palatinate Forest is over

Hedgehogs, squirrels and lilies slowly wake up from their slumber. Because they lost a lot of their energy reserves and fat deposits during the long winter vacation, Hohmann says, they are now looking for food again. He explained that the short onset of winter may have helped the forest animals.

“As the ground has become so soft due to rain and melting snow, many animals can find more food.”

During such cold days, many animals simply retreat to their burrow or shelter and wait until the weather improves, says the forester. By the way, wild animals such as hedgehogs should not be fed at the moment. Available food can attract predators to hedgehogs, such as foxes or mice. It would be better to provide a natural lawn that is not too tidy. In it, hedgehogs can find adequate shelter and food such as insects or worms. Due to the softening of the soil, the diet of animals is currently very extensive anyway, because more insects come from the soil to the surface. It could only have become dangerous if the renewed winter had lasted longer. In the frozen ground, many animals hardly find any food.



Fox in the snow.  (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance / dpa | Lino Mergeller)

In the Palatinate Forest the foxes will lay their young the next day.


photo radio dpa



Image Alliance / dpa | Lino Mergiler


Offspring in the Palatinate Forest – Be careful on the streets

Mating season is over for mammals like foxes, wild boars, deer, badgers and raccoons and there are already offspring here in these weeks. A female fox, for example, stays in a burrow with her newborn offspring for the first few weeks. The male fox is responsible for searching for food. Forest expert Ulf Hohmann urges drivers to pay attention to deer crossings and drive slowly. In their quest to provide for their families, foxes are often oblivious to the dangers of the road.



Raccoon looks at the camera.  (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance / dpa | Uli Deck)

Since they are foraging, it is likely that Pfäzerwald raccoons will soon be looking for food in the cities again.


photo radio dpa



Image Alliance / dpa | Ole Dick


Raccoons are looking for food

Raccoons are also busy raising their young. Unlike the fox, the female is solely responsible for purchasing food. After the first few days after birth, raccoons are looking for something to eat. In the city, this could mean more raccoons are outside and again, which could also lead to the looting of one of the unsafe trash cans.

Birds in the Palatinate lay eggs

It is also possible that the birds survived the short onset of winter. When the weather is much warmer now, the first bird species will begin to lay eggs. Only the crow is there earlier and is already busy raising his vicious chicks. The insecticides now being used in gardens are lethal to young birds, says forester Ulf Hohmann of the Institute for Forest and Forest Ecology Research in Tripstadt. Therefore, obsessive gardeners should, at best, avoid the use of pesticides altogether.

Amphibians and reptiles are masters of adaptation

Depending on their severity, weather changes can cause problems for animals. According to forest experts, amphibians and reptiles such as frogs and lizards are least affected. These animals fall into hibernation. This means that they do not have to expend any energy themselves to restore normal body temperature. When the weather is nice and warm, they lie on a rock to let the sun warm them. When it suddenly gets cold or snowy again, they simply go back to their shelter and wait for the next rays of sun.

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