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Mild winter: danger to the local wildlife?


In recent years, the temperatures have been relatively warm in the winter months. However, the mild winter lures many animals out of their winter rest earlier or prevents them from going into hibernation at all. Sometimes even the first offspring appear in the wild boar. But how big is the danger if another cold snap is imminent? Mild winter: danger to the local wildlife? - Image: Shutterstock / Pesat Jaroslav

Average winter temperatures have often been above zero - apparently climate change is in full swing. The result: Nature wakes up from winter rest much earlier than usual. This can be very confusing and sometimes even harmful for the local animal world.

Mild winter ensures early offspring

In the past few years, the first youngsters were sighted in January, which are usually not born until March. Due to the mild winter months, deer are also earlier with their family planning. As long as the temperatures do not go down again, there is no danger for the early boar offspring and the fawns. On the contrary, the population can even grow explosively. However, if there is still a drop in temperature, many of the young animals can die from the cold.

Danger to butterflies and other insects?

Butterflies such as the little fox or the peacock butterfly usually hibernate in the warm interiors of human dwellings at cold temperatures. A mild winter fools them into an early spring, so that they venture out of their winter quarters before their usual time. However, they still do not find enough food to starve. The same fate threatens bees, which are tempted by the warm temperatures to leave their hive earlier.

A mild winter doesn't bother squirrels

However, the mild winter is less problematic for other animal species because they adapt well to the changed conditions. Squirrels don't really hibernate anyway and wake up every now and then to look for a nut or two. You shouldn't do that too often, otherwise your energy will not last for the whole winter.

For hedgehogs, newts, toads and frogs, which normally hibernate in the cold, the mild winter only becomes a problem when the temperatures suddenly drop to the basement. They sometimes fail to retreat to their warm winter quarters quickly enough so that some of them can freeze to death.

This is how you can help wild animals in winter

Brrr, soon it will be really cold outside, and while we are comfortable in the cozy living room ...

What the mild winter means for the birds

For some birds, the mild winter even turns out to be a blessing: They find plenty of food in fields that are not frozen, swans do not have to fight against frozen lakes. Some species - for example cranes - no longer hibernate in the warmer south, but stay in Germany. But here too, the danger looms if winter strikes again with all his might: Anyone who is already courtship and builds nests has little chance of survival - at least if the migratory birds do not take a trip to the warmer south decide.

Mild winter for pets: possible risks from ticks

A mild winter is also a blessing for unloved animals such as ticks. They find many hosts in the unexpectedly warm temperatures and therefore multiply particularly strongly. In addition, this causes the parasites to wake up from cold stiffness earlier in order to forage for food. This means that dogs and cats have to be protected from the annoying beasts in December and January.

If your pet has a pollen allergy, the mild winter can also cause problems. Plants also start to bloom earlier when the warm temperatures lead to an early spring. As a result, if your pet is allergic, symptoms may appear earlier.