Fauna

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Aesculapian Snake
Zamenis longissimus

The trademark of Aesculapius, the Roman god of medicine and healing, is the serpent-entwined staff. This Aesculapian staff is still used today by doctors as a type of medical "seal". The Aesculapian Snake may often be found on the edges of paths along the southern slope forests found in the Donau-Auen National Park.

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Agile frog
Rana dalmatina

Especially observant visitors to the Donau-Auen National Park may often come across the clay-coloured Agile Frog – but usually only in the very moment in which it escapes by big leaps into the thick underbrush!

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Asp
Aspius aspius

The Asp is the only European carp which is purely predatory; it is one of the rare piscivore carp types. Once extremely widespread, the Asp is nowadays rare.

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Banded Demoiselle
Calopteryx splendens

A remarkable, butterfly-like flying dragonfly with metallic blue shimmering wing bars. In the Donau-Auen National Park, the Banded Demoiselle is most likely to be seen on slow-moving backwaters, if only in limited numbers.

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Barbel
Barbus barbus

The Barbel is a characteristic species found on free-flowing stretches of the Danube. It is a demersal fish, meaning it is found near or on the bottom of a body of water.

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Bitterling
Rhodeus sericeus amarus (Bloch)

During mating season, males exhibit a deep red underside – but during the rest of the year, the small silver Bitterlings are quite inconspicuous.

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Black Kite
Milvus migrans

The Black Kite has dark plumage and is near in size to a buzzard. It requires open and partly-open areas near to water and woodlands in temperate climes. As a typical wetlands bird, the Black Kite is characteristic of the Danube wetlands, yet is one of the rarest raptors found in Austria. Approximately 40% of the total population lives in the Donau-Auen National Park, making the park the most densely populated and most important breeding ground in Austria. Illegal persecution of raptors and destruction caused by use of its habitat as recreational area are the main reasons for endangerment. Attention was drawn to the destructive effects of these activities for both the Black Kite and the related Red Kite, who co-starred in the "Bird of the Year" campaign in 2000.

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Common carp
Cyprinus carpio carpio

The true Common Carp, the base form for all cultivated carp, is endangered, but is being protected and boosted in the Donau-Auen National Park.

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Common Sandpiper
Actitis hypoleucos

Flight action of the Common Sandpiper is very unique: with a close flight path over water, it alternates between a series of shallow pulsating wing beats and fleeting glides with stiffly down-bowed wings. While sitting on a stone, the Common Sandpiper continually bobs and pumps its tail, similar to a wagtail.

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Corn Crake
Crex crex

In Crown Prince Rudolph's day, the Corn Crake was a common meadowland bird in the Danube wetlands. Today, the endangered Corn Crake is one of the ornithological highlights of the Donau-Auen National Park. This rare bird is usually concealed in damp meadows with lush high grasses. And although it is rarely seen, its loud, far-carrying cry is heard at night. The dramatic decline in the Corn Crake population is due mainly to the destruction of damp meadows and intensified agricultural activity: early mowing and large, efficient machinery prevent successful reproduction. In recent years, the Corn Crake has become the European flagship species among endangered meadow birds and as such, has attracted widespread attention. Within the framework of the LIFE Nature Project, the re-colonization of the Corn Crake in the Donau-Auen National Park has been supported with carefully targeted measures.

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Danube Crested Newt
Triturus dobrogicus

These primeval-looking creatures inhabit smaller bodies of water in the National Park. Although they may look like little dragons, these amphibians are in fact one of the most edifying and interesting examples of biodiversity in the Danube wetlands.

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Dice Snake
Natrix tessellata tessellata

Dice Snakes are aquatic snakes and live on and in the water. Able swimmers and divers, they can remain under water for several hours at a time. The ongoing destruction of natural riverbanks and other shorelines has robbed this interesting species of the environment it requires to flourish.

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Duck mussel
Anodonta anatina

On guided boot tours of the Donau-Auen National Park, living Duck mussels may sometimes be observed, or at least traces of what were once living specimens may be found in the mud.

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Eagle Owl
Bubo bubo

The Eagle Owl belongs to the order of Strigiformes. It is the largest owl species in the world and is only slightly smaller than the Golden Eagle.

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Edible frog
Pelophylax kl. esculentus

Even the scientific name hints at why this species is so interesting to humans: "esculentus", meaning "edible". The Edible Frog was formerly found in huge numbers in lakes and streams and was considered a delectable treat.

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Emperor Dragonfly
Anax imperator

This "Ruler of the Skies" above our waters is one of the largest among native dragonflies. On warm sunny days, the conspicuous males are usually on the wing and can fly for hours at a time. Within the National Park, the Emperor Dragonfly may be spotted more frequently in the Lobau than in other areas, where it is rarer.

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Eurasian Beaver
Castor fiber

The beaver is the "master builder" of riverine landscapes. By felling trees, the beaver makes a significant contribution to biodiversity by providing habitats for many other species.

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European Common Tree Frog
Hyla arborea arborea

The bright green European Common Tree Frog may be found flitting about leaves and boughs. Because the tips of its fingers and toes are suction discs, it can climb high up the branches of trees and bushes looking for food. During mating season, the species may be found near bodies of water, for example pressed against a reed or calling from the water itself.

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European ground squirrel
Spermophilus citellus

The European ground squirrel, also known as the European souslik, is a rodent belonging to the squirrel family. It is known for the shrill whistle it emits. By sitting up on its short hind legs in a "begging" position the souslik is able to keep a careful eye on its surroundings.

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European Mantis
Mantis religiosa

The European Mantis belongs to the Mantidae family, Mantodea order of mantises. It prepares to ambush its prey by lifting its spiked forelegs, so-called raptorial legs.

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European pond turtle
Emys orbicularis

The European pond turtle was once in high demand as a fasting food during Lent and thus hunted and captured in huge numbers. Today, the threat to the European pond turtle comes primarily through the destruction of its freshwater habitat which includes stagnant and slowly-moving waters as well as suitable spots on dry land for the burying of its eggs.

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Fire-Bellied Toad
Bombina bombina

The melodic  "ooh . . . ooh . . . ooh"  of the Fire-Bellied Toad may be heard on many ponds in the wetlands. After periods of high water, these animals may often be found on flooded fields and meadows.

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Freshwater Mussel
Unio sp.

The presence of freshwater mussels, also known as river mussels, is sometimes only apparent upon finding the single valves of shells on the shores of a body of water. As living organisms, freshwater mussels lead quiet lives at the bottom of the river or pond bed. Yet mussels aren't as immobile as they seem: they do wander around the sediment, burrowing in sand or mud.

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Freshwater Sponge
Spongillidae div.

Spongillidae are a family of freshwater sponges from the Animalia kingdom. In contrast to their flashy seawater relatives, our native freshwater species are inconspicuous. Yet their way of life offers fascinating perspectives on an ancient life form.

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Grass Snake
Natrix natrix natrix

The Grass Snake may be most easily identified on the basis of the characteristic yellow collar behind its head. This reptile is an excellent swimmer and diver and captures the majority of its prey on and in the water.

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Great Capricorn Beetle
Cerambyx cerdo

With a body length of around 5cm, the Great Capricorn Beetle, one of the so-called Long-Horned beetles, is one of the largest native beetle species.

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Great Pond Snail
Lymnaea stagnalis

The great pond snail is active all year round. In order to breathe, the snail regularly comes to the surface of the water to take in air. But in the winter – except for during especially hard frosts – the snail can also be seen near the surface, under a sheet of ice, because it can absorb oxygen through the water into its skin.

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Green Club-tailed Dragonfly, also known as Green Gomphid
Ophiogomphus cecilia

This dragonfly species is highly endangered across Europe and is only a vagrant species in the National Park. Therefore, special programmes to aid this rare species, which prefers environments with slow-moving waters, are being implemented in the Donau-Auen National Park.

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