Wonderful habitat primeval beech woodland

Many animal species are at home in the natural old woodland of the national park, among them many that are threatened by extinction. Around 80 percent of all species that live here are insects. Prerequisites of this abundance of species are suffient food ressources, peace and quiet as well as a great diversity of habitats with lots of deadwood.

Nobody knows an exact number, but experts reckon that around 10,000 species of animal live in Hainich. New species are discovered every year, 70 further beetle species in 2010 alone. The national park authority systematically researches this habiat with the support of universities. Every newly found species provides an additional argument for the protection of this unique nature.

In order to eat without being eaten, many animals live hidden in the soil, under the bark or in the wood. Other species like bats are nocturnal. The larger mammals are mostly very shy. If you are patient, quiet and alert, you are sure to be rewarded with a glimpse into our animal kingdom. A yellow-necked field mouse might scurry along the trunk of a fallen beech that a dazzling longicorn is just leaving. Ants might bustle about between cushions of moss. You might see a Purple Emperor butterfly sucking on something on the forest floor or one of 100 types of snail crawling on some bark, or even a deer jumping through the undergrowth.

Prerequisites for this diversity of species are sufficient food ressources and a great variety of habitats. The large-scale and undisturbed forests in Hainich offer both and enable thus an unusually high diversity for Central Europe.

Image: Wildcats in Hainich National Park
Rare, shy and never tame Wildcats in Hainich National Park Start slideshow