Bypass Repeated Content

Truly romantic: the world-famous ruins

Heidelberg Palace

Schloss Heidelberg ist das größte Winterquartier für Fledermäuse in Nordbaden; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
It's a zoo!

Conservation at Heidelberg Palace

Heidelberg Palace draws more than just visitors; it is also an important, and often the only, habitat for many wild palace inhabitants. The State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg is particularly committed to protecting endangered species.

Pipistrelle bat. Image: Koordinationsstelle Fledermausschutz Nordbaden

Light as a feather: the pipistrelle bat.

Of dwarfs and greater mouse-ears

Heidelberg Palace is the most important winter habitat for bats in northern Baden. It is home to the pipistrelle bat, which only weighs as much as two sugar cubes, as well as the greater mouse-eared bat, which, with a wingspan of 40 cm, is the largest native bat species. During the winter months, the bats hang in the cracks in the walls and the small holes in the ceilings of the casemates, towers and some palace structures. If their hibernation is disturbed, they will swarm out and lose their winter fat, which can be deadly for them. 

Common European toad. Image: Naturschutzbund Heidelberg, Christel Pietsch

A European toad in search of snails.

European toads and grass frogs

In March, these amphibians crawl out of the damp forests above the palace and head for their spawning waters in the palace garden. By taking this route, they are spared many dangers, such as crossing streets. The females carry the males "piggyback" to the spawning waters, where the European toads deposit egg strings containing up to 8,000 eggs. Spawn clumps from grass frogs are deposited in heavily vegetated and shallow waters, and can cover several square meters.

Grasfrosch; Foto: Naturschutzbund Heidelberg, Christel Pietsch
Krötenpärchen; Foto: Naturschutzbund Heidelberg, Christel Pietsch

A grass frog and a pair of toads in the Heidelberg Palace gardens.

Alpine newts in a spawning pool. Image: Naturschutzbund Heidelberg, Christel Pietsch

Alpine newts in a spawning pool.

Alpine newts and fire salamanders

Alpine newts are approximately 8 to 12 cm long and live in richly wooded areas. During their spring spawning period, they reside in the small waters and fountains in the Heidelberg Palace garden. During breeding season, the males have a bright blue coloring, while the females are more muted. In the summer months, Alpine newts, much like their cohabitant fire salamanders, find cool habitats during the hot days by crawling into the cracks of the palace's retaining walls.

Feuersalamander; Foto: Naturschutzbund Heidelberg, Christel Pietsch

A fire salamander hides amongst greenery.

Parti-colored bat. Image: Koordinationsstelle Fledermausschutz Nordbaden

Heidelberg visitor: the parti-colored bat.

How can you help?

Noise, light and commotion disturb hibernating bats. Please understand that certain events may not be possible between October and April in some areas of the palace. Please do not remove amphibians and reptiles from their habitat. Please be careful not to step on these protected amphibians at and after sunset as they cross paths on the palace grounds. Thank you for your support!