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Truly romantic: the world-famous ruins

Heidelberg Palace

View of Heidelberg Palace. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Petra Schaffrodt
Many hiding places

Bats

Heidelberg Palace is an imposing structure with many nooks and crannies. A lesser-known fact is that special inhabitants have resided here since the 19th century. Many species of bat populate the palace and have found their home here.

Visitors to Heidelberg Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Mike Niederauer

Many bats live in the palace despite all the activity.

Bats are a part of biodiversity

It's hard to believe that such biodiversity exists amidst all the hustle and bustle in and around Heidelberg Palace. In addition to European toads and grass frogs, Alpine newts and fire salamanders, bats are by far the most interesting, and simultaneously most feared, animal inhabitants. But there is no reason to fear these small, fascinating, flying mammals. In this region, they only feast on insects and are one of the more critically endangered species.

Rare bat species find a princely home

Heidelberg Palace has become a permanent home for several species of bat. This is important, because the palace's many hiding places offer a suitable winter habitat for them. All in all, these eight species have made themselves comfortable in this princely home: the pipistrelle bat, greater mouse-eared bat, serotine bat, both the gray and brown long-eared bat, parti-colored bat, Natterer's bat, and barbastelle bat.

Pipistrelle bat. Image: Fledermausschutz Nordbaden, Monika Braun
Mouse-eared bat (myotis). Image: Fledermausschutz Nordbaden, Brigitte Heinz
Parti-colored bat. Image: Fledermausschutz Nordbaden, Brigitte Heinz

Rare bat species have found a space in Heidelberg Palace.

Heidelberg Palace ruins. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl

So many hiding places in the old palace walls.

The perfect hiding place

Bats have existed for over 50 million years, and they've always loved dark and secluded spaces. Heidelberg Palace offers ideal hiding places. These night-owls overwinter in several places, including: the stag pit, the gate tower, the Ludwig Building, the exploded tower, and the bell tower. Until they wake from hibernation to once again hunt insects on the expansive palace grounds, these and other locations remain closed to visitors, in order to protect the bats.

Heidelberg Palace in the evening. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Petra Schaffrodt

Particularly beautiful in the evening light: Heidelberg Palace.

An enchanting evening delight

These small, skilled fliers are not to be disturbed in their winter habitat; however, in the summer months, they can be observed all the more in their evening forays. On a walk through the Heidelberg gardens at twilight, steal a glance up and experience the bats as they zip around, then admire the beauty of the palace gardens as the last rays of sun bathe everything in gold.