The Zoo as a Habitat

Beyond being a home to exotic species such as Panda & Co., many native species feel quite at home in between the zoo’s enclosures. During your visit, keep an eye out for gray herons, wall lizards, green toads and butterflies! All these animals find optimal living conditions, abundant food and places to brood.

The zoo grounds provide an ample supply of berries for birds, leaves for caterpillars, muddy pools for bees, and rocky terrain for insects. Small mammals such as shrews, or reptiles such as the green lizard, also like stony habitats. Every new plant in the zoo is ecologically valuable. Deadwood is equally important. When trees die, we make a point of leaving the stumps intact – much to the delight of the beetle fauna.  

New enclosures for native species

Especially when planning new enclosures, we keep the native fauna in mind. For example, we created a pool for toads directly in front of the elephant swimming hole. In the Africa facility and the Hippo House we installed so-called overwintering bunkers – wood-covered cavities filled with stones. This is where the animals can retreat during the cold season. The Hippo House hosts a nesting hole for the rare kingfisher. Green toads and our tigers have long lived harmoniously side by side: they share the pond together.

Chasing beetles like lucky charms

Beetles are by far the most species-rich insect group. Therefore, it is very challenging to gain an overview over their diversity on and in the ground, within water bodies, and in the vegetation. With support of the Austrian Lotteries we currently investigate which native beetle species inhabit the grounds of Schönbrunn Zoo. full text

A richly spread table for wild bees

Wild bees are not only our most important pollinators, but constitute a fascinating clade in the animal kingdom with specific demands regarding their habitat. In the course of a bee mapping and monitoring project, several rare species were discovered at Schönbrunn Zoo, where they find suitable nesting sites and flowering plants. full text

Butterflies simply love the zoo

Six butterfly islands have been installed at the zoo, sponsored by the nature conservation initiative “Flowering Austria (“Blühendes Österreich”). The colorful nectar- and forage plants for caterpillars are popular with butterflies and visitors alike. Information charts highlight the various species and their habitats and provide tips for butterfly-friendly home gardens. full text

Feathery biodiversity: wild birds

Beyond the rich food resources at the zoo, our many sheltered sites and nesting boxes attract breeding birds, winter guests, and feeding birds throughout the year. The exact species were identified during the course of two systematic surveys. These studies also revealed the presence of very rare birds. full text

Cold-blooded tenants: reptiles and amphibians

Stones as places to warm up, pools to spawn in, or leaves to hide in: a wide range of different mini-habitats attract the wild amphibians and reptiles that inhabit the zoo grounds. They often share space with tigers, Indian rhinos & Co.! Their populations were surveyed in 2008, and the knowledge gained enabled targeted conservation measures. full text

Furry guests: small mammals and bats

The large forested area in the southern corner of the zoo, the mosaic of pools and park areas, along with our many bushes and shrubs provide an attractive habitat for small mammals in Vienna’s densely populated urban landscape. Their populations were surveyed in detail in 2017, which yielded a small sensation. full text