Seven dangers to avoid when you’re outside in Austria

Austria is a beautiful alpine state, famous for its majestic mountains, magnificent lakes, perfect meadows and nature in all its abundance. However, even the Garden of Eden had a resident serpent.

There are more than a few dangers you should be aware of before putting on your hiking boots and heading out into the great outdoors.

You could be chased by a wild boar, bitten by a tick, accidentally eat something poisonous, or have a caterpillar itch every time you go outside.

Here’s what you need to know.

Wild boar

TThe British ambassador to Austria was chased by a rampaging boar a few years ago as it wandered through the Vienna woods in the city’s Lainzer Tiergarten.

Write in his Blog, Leigh Turner said he suddenly comes face to face with a group of “four or five large adults and countless piglets.”

He tried to walk away slowly but then said he heard a noise behind him like a “galloping horse ”and turned to see a“ huge boar ”, head bowed, charging straight for him.

Mr. Turner attempted to climb over a pile of tree trunks to escape and injured his hand.

It could have been worse, a man in Berlin had his laptop stolen by a wild boar last year and made headlines around the world while chasing him naked.


Small ticks can be some of the most dangerous animals you will encounter in Austria. Getting the tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is important if you live here, especially if you like to hike and be outdoors.

According to media reports, a record 215 illnesses and three deaths from the disease was set in 2020.

Lyme disease is also a risk factor in much of the country. A recent to study found that a third of the country’s ticks are infected with borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is easily treatable if caught soon after infection, but becomes more serious if left untreated. It’s time to stock up on tick repellants and invest in some long pants before heading out into the wilderness.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you have to wait two weeks to receive the TBE vaccine if you have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to Austria. National Vaccination Committee

READ MORE: Promising treatment for Lyme disease

The caterpillars

Many parks in Vienna had to be closed last year due to an infestation of Eichenprozessionsspinner, or caterpillars of the oak processionary caterpillar.

The caterpillars are covered with tiny hairs that can break off and cause itching, rashes, and difficulty breathing.

You can find out more here (link in German), or here.

Wild garlic

A popular pastime in Austria is to go into the woods to hunt wild garlic (Barlauch), which is used in recipes for soup, pesto, bread, and even chicken with wild garlic a la Kiev.

However, what some people might not realize is that wild garlic looks a lot like lily of the valley (Maiglockchen), which is toxic.

The smell should help you tell the difference between the two, otherwise it helpful guide (German) or this one (English) will guide you in the right direction.


Searching for mushrooms is also a popular pastime in almost all provinces of Austria, as they grow in abundance everywhere. Are particularly popular Eierschwammerl (Chanterelles) or Steinpilze (Ceps or Porcini). However, it is important not to choose the wrong type. Of the 8,800 species of mushrooms known in Austria, which do not belong to either the animal or plant kingdoms, there are only 100 edible species.

You can find out more about the code of conduct for mushroom pickers here or a guide on how to do it right here. And remember the first rule of foraging: when in doubt, put it aside.


Wolves have returned to Austria in recent years. In 2016, the first Austrian wolf pack was established at Allentsteig, a military training ground in Lower Austria. The Wilderness Society reports that a second was found on the Austrian-Czech border near Karlstift.

According to BBC Earth While hundreds of years ago wolves in Europe roamed to attack child shepherds, when rabies has been largely eradicated and children no longer work to care for sheep, they present today much less risk for humans.


Brown bears can also be found in Austria. a EU report found that the possibility of accidents involving bears “cannot be ruled out” although they are very rare.

Read more: Italian bears make a comeback in Austrian woods

According to the report, there are populations of bears in the Northern Limestone Alps, descended from three bears released by WWF in the early 1990s and in the Karawanken along the Carinthian-Slovenia border.

Read more: Farmer attacked by bear in Salzburg

Lynx have been reintroduced to Austria (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)


There is now a handful of lynxes (Luchs) living in Austria, according to the Wilderness Society. They were reintroduced from Switzerland in 2011 after becoming extinct 100 years ago.

There are differing views on how dangerous the lynx is for humans. While the Lynx Company says they pose no danger to humans, in Britain the National Farmers Union has warned they could attack members of the public if they are reintroduced into the wild, report says published in English. Telegraph newspaper.

The lynx is a large cat with fluffy ears and a pointed beard, sometimes called the wizard of the forest. Lynxes are rarely seen and live in wild, mountainous forests far from humans, such as in the remote forests of the border regions of Styria, Upper Austria and Lower Austria.

A new Lynx long distance hiking trail through this area was recently established from Reichraming in Upper Austria via Styria to Lunz am See in the Mostviertel in Lower Austria.

German vocabulary

Ticks – Zecken

Tick-borne encephalitis – Zeckenenzephalitis / Frühsommermeningoenzephalitis (FSME)

Lyme disease – Die Lyme-Borreliose

Wild boar – Wildschweine

Lynx – Luchs

Bear – Bär

Wolf – Wolf

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