What Is The National Animal Of Germany?

What Is The National Animal Of Germany?

Did you know that some countries have chosen national animals? Mostly these are animals that are – or have been – prevalent in the specific country, often they also chose animals that represent character traits the countries would like to see themselves associated with.

What Is the National Animal of Germany? It must be a boring and bureaucratic animal that always stops at a red light, that much is certain. 

Actually, Germany does not have designated a national animal. It is often associated with the eagle, which is found on the coat of arms of the country. This bird was never officially designated as a national animal, though.

Not only that, but the stylized eagle you find on the coat of arms as well as inside the parliament is not even supposed to represent any specific species of eagle, according to a spokesperson from the press office of the German parliament. 

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German Flag
German Flag

As opposed to the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) of Macau or the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) of the United States, the German eagle is simply supposed to represent characteristics like deity, vitality, and power that have been associated with eagles since the times of the Ancient Greeks and Romans as well as Germanic tribes.  

Historically, the use of the eagle as a heraldic animal in Germany can be traced back to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. He is supposed to have taken on the two-headed eagle as a symbol of rulers from the Romans in the 15th century. 1848 this image, the double-headed eagle, was declared as the heraldic sign of the German Confederation.  

In 1871, the Prussian King and German Kaiser Wilhelm I chose a one-headed eagle for the coat of arms of the German Empire. Since then, the eagle has been depicted as single-headed. During the time of Germany being divided, the eagle was the symbol of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) but not the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

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Since the reunification in 1990, it has been again the emblem of the whole of Germany. Nowadays, the German eagle is black with only one head. It has its face turned to the right (from the eagle’s perspective) and its beak, tongue, and talons are red.  

What Animals Are Native to Germany? 

German Chamois
German Chamois

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Germany is not known for colorful, gigantic, exotic animals, that is true, But its array of forests and marshes still provides a fruitful habitat for several native species. Most prevalent are smaller animals like the red fox or the European pine marten – the latter probably most famous for the damage it can do to car wiring

A larger species is, for example, the wild boar which can be over 6 feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds. You can see them and their adorable offspring, the striped piglets in a lot of wildlife parks in forested areas. 

In mountainous areas like the European Alps, you might find animals like the chamois, a goat-antelope, or the ibex, a wild mountain goat with curved horns. 

And, even though the heraldic animal does not refer to a specific species of German eagle, there are several of them in Germany. You can spot, for example, the white-tailed eagle, mostly in the east and the north, and the golden eagle in the alps. Germany is also at the edge of the European range of the short-toed snake eagle. 

What Is the National Tree of Germany? 

German National Tree
German National Tree

While it did not officially designate a national animal, Germany has an official national tree: the oak (Quercus). Oaks stand for strength and endurance and an adult oak can grow up to 147 feet tall and spread almost as wide. Oak trees are probably recognized most easily by their acorns wearing little “hats”. 

The German 1,2, and 5 cent coins depict the branch of an oak tree with four leaves and two acorns. Pfennigs (small German coins before the introduction of the Euro) depicted a woman planting an online shoot. Coins with this image were designed after the defeat of the Nazis and the planting of the young tree symbolized the reconstruction of Germany. 

These choices for the unofficial German bird and the official German tree go well together to present a country that is 33% covered in forest. 

Wildlife Reserve in Germany
Wildlife Reserve in Germany
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Rosa Nowak

Rosa is a German-Canadian writer, a PhD student of English literature, and an amateur natural science enthusiast.

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