What animals and plants are here?

In addition to the close-to-nature ecosystem, the landscape around Mt. Ötscher has been shaped by centuries of human use. This also has a great influence on the local fauna and flora. The variety of available habitats also results in a high biodiversity of species.

Wildlife in the Nature Park

The Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park is home to a multitude of different animals – from big, strong ones like the chamois and the golden eagle to hidden, smaller ones like the Carabus variolosus, a species of black coloured ground beetle, or the bullhead.

We would like to highlight seven particularly special animals that are representative of the different habitats in the nature park:

  • The dipper (Cinclus cinclus) with its characteristic curtsying habit accompanies every hike through the gorges of the nature park. Attentive hikers that observe the course of the river quietly will catch a glimpse of this beautiful bird.
  • Much more hidden, but also native to the local rivers it the stone crayfish (Austropotamobius torrentium). Its presence is indicative of the nature park's excellent water quality.
  • As a pioneer species, it is always the first to arrive and can also to be found at the Ötscher Base: the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata). Those who are able to recognize its call will hear it all across the nature park.
  • Attentive observers may notice bees that carry a leaf between their legs. The leafcutter bee (Megachile sp.) uses these leaves to cushion its brood cells and, incidentally, pollinates our fruit trees in doing so.
  • The violet copper (Lycaena helle) is a particularly beautiful sight. In the nature park itself the butterfly has unfortunately not been seen yet, but it has already been spotted in the vicinity. Its habitat – wet meadows – are, in any case, present, so it is just a matter of time until we find the first one.
  • Mt. Ötscher is known for its extensive cave system – a bat that can be found in it is the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis).
  • If you are hiking through the Ötschergräben or Tormäuer gorges in summer, you will spot lizards scurrying by on the sun-warmed footbridges from time to time. If you are lucky, you will spot a common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis).

Insiders' tip: If you want to learn more about these animals, you should definitely spend the night in the Sulzbichl Adventure Village in Puchenstuben!

The flora in the nature park

The diverse habitats also lead to a high diversity of plant communities ranging from alpine grasslands to moorlands up to hay meadows and pastures. If you would like to marvel at the entire spectrum of the local fauna, a visit to the nature park is recommended at every time of the year – in spring, the blossoming of the auricula (Primula auricula) covers entire rock faces in bright yellow. In summer, the delicious fruit of the juneberry (Amelanchier ovalis) and the cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) become ripe, and in autumn, the fruit trees are ready for harvest.

A highlight throughout the summer are the many orchid species in the nature park – after all, it is home to more than 25 different kinds, most notably the impressive lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus).

Of course, there is a lot more to know and find out about the flora and fauna in the nature park, and our nature educators are happy to pass on their knowledge during various guided tours and events!