Slovak fauna is mainly represented by deciduous forests. Due to a great surface diversity and natural environment, Slovakia is characteristic by highly variable fauna. The country is home to hundreds of animals with different origins and appearance that live in diverse environments.
Forests are home to many animals. The most common are: squirrel, fox, wild-boar, lynx, wolf and bear. Deer species are represented in Slovakia by: red deer, roe deer, fallow deer and mouflon. Slovakian forests offer great conditions for hunting. Bear and deer hunting are quite popular. Bigger bird species are represented for example by owls, grouses and mousebirds. Caves, so frequent in Slovak territory, house several bat kinds.
Rare marmots and chamois can be found in the dwarf pine zone. Typical animals living in lowland fields in southern Slovakia are for example: peasant, rabbit and field mouse. Hedgehogs can be found mainly in regions lying on the boundary between lowlands and mountain ranges. Animals in Slovakia are divided according to the region with their most frequent occurrence. We distinguish four main regions.
Slovak steppe regions extend on lowlands and sunny slopes. They also extend on areas converted by man to arable land. These regions house about 10-13% of all animal species living on the Slovak territory. Most common are: skylarks, rabbits, field mice, partridges and peasants. Great bustard is very rare and critically endangered bird specie characteristic for this region. His natural environment is perfectly represented by steppe regions in Danubian Plain, Danubian and Trnava Hills. Most of great bustards live in an important bird territory called Sysľové polia situated close to Rusovce nearby Bratislava. Invertebrate species are represented in this region by Dorcadion fulvum or Saga pedo. Butterflies are also very widespread thorough the Slovak territory.
Deciduous forests are characteristic by the highest diversity of animal species within the whole Slovak territory. They are home to about 75% of all our animal species. Deciduous forests provide not only food but also shelter to roe deer, wild-boar, red fox, wildcat as well as to many bird species. The most common are: common cuckoo, tawny owl, carrion crow, European robin, chaffinch, linnet, tit and woodpecker. Amphibians are represented by: smooth newt, great crested newt, European toad and European tree frog.
Coniferous forests provide food and shelter to about 10% of Slovak animals. They are home to several mammal and bird species: squirrels, brown bears, Eurasian lynx, wood grouse, ring ouzel, spotted nutcracker, coal tit, crested tit, Eurasian bullfinch and common crossbill. From reptiles there can be found European adder and grass snake. Many animals live in both, deciduous as well as coniferous forests. For example: fox, wolf, deer, etc.
Sub alpine regions house only about 1% of all Slovak animals. However animals living in this zone are not strongly represented, they are equally interesting and important. We can still find there a presence of species surviving from Ice Age – glacial relicts. There can be found: alpine newt from amphibians, common lizard from reptiles, common swift from birds and Tatra ground vole with European snow vole from of mammals. Chamois and marmots, adapted to living in steep, rugged, rocky regions can be seen at moderately high altitudes.
There can be found in Slovakia many rivers, water reservoirs and marshlands. They offer great living conditions to many fish, amphibian and bird kinds. As their waters provide them with food, their banks provide them with shelter. Fish breeding in fishponds is quite popular thorough Slovakia. Freshwater fish breeding ponds are for example Trnavské rybníky situated on the West of the country or Senné rybníky situated in eastern Slovakia. As each animal needs water with other characteristics, there can be found different animal species living in rivers than living in marshlands or water dams.
Rivers and their dead tributaries house catfish, carp, trout, huchen (Danube salmon), grayling, crayfish, frog and turtle. Brown trout has adapted to living conditions of stony bottomed swift cold rivers. Grayling has found his home in slowly riverine waters running through lower situated areas. Many fish live in bigger streams and rivers running thorough lowlands and other places situated at lower altitudes: northern pike, zander, catfish, bream and roach.
Banks of mountain springs and streams are home to the yellow bellied toad and from birds to the grey wagtail or the European kingfisher. Stream banks situated at lower altitudes are home to: white wagtail, Eurasian otter, muskrat and grass snake. Many animal species live in or nearby stagnant waters. Water insects are represented by: water striders as Graphoderus bilineatus, Hydrophilus piceus, Gerris lacustris and dragonfly.
Sides extending along stagnant waters are characteristic by many animal species. For example: ducks, herons, reed-warblers and Eurasian coots. Wild ducks, swans, gulls and storks are also nestling nearby rivers. Many water dams are protected areas serving as important ornithological bases. Sĺňava situated on Váh River is one of them. It is home to tens of bird species as for example cormorant or heron.
European pod turtle has its biotope in natural reservations nearby the Latorica River in eastern Slovakia. It is very rare animal specie and it a unique representative of all thermophilic animals in the Central Europe.
Cats and dogs are usually animals that one would find in a house or a flat. Cats are family members in many families, especially in the countryside. Horse breeding in Slovakia is quite widespread among family farmhouses and private ranches. Horses are usually kept for tourist purposes. People living in the countryside usually keep poultry: ducks, chickens and turkeys. Rabbits and porkers are also quite popular domestic animals in the countryside. Sheep and cattle breeding are important in northern mountainous regions as for example in Liptov and Orava.
769 is the total number of protected species living in the Slovak territory. Especially we should not forget to mention endemits, rare animal species living only in our country. It is for example a kind of a land slug named Deroceras fatrense and six-spot burnet or other invertebrates. Tatra chamois, marmot and Eurasian lynx belong among feral endemic species living in Slovakia. Great bustard is the biggest flying bird living in the European territory. It is another example of Slovak endemic species. Its biotope is situated in the Dropie protected landscape area situated nearby Komárno. Topoľčianky, situated nearby Zlaté Moravce, is known by European bison, hoofed animals and horse breeding.
Deciduous forests are dangerous mainly for the presence of possibly infected ticks. Therefore it is advisable to use repellent against insects before entering any of them. We can also come across a poisonous animal. The only venomous specie living in the Slovak territory is a snake called adder (Vipera berus). It can be found on many places from river sides and marshlands to sunny slopes and clearings. Therefore it is necessary to be more careful especially doing some activities in certain areas as for example picking up forest fruits. In case you have been bitten by this snake, an immediate first aid is necessary. A bee, hornet or wasp sting can be very dangerous for people allergic on their venom, as it may cause them an anaphylactic shock.