Állataink

Our Animals

Mammals
Birds
Domestic Animals
Golden Jackal
(Canis aureus)

I have no idea why they call me golden, I may be worth a lot, however, I don’t even have half a carat of gold in me and I do not get dissolved in aqua regia either…

However, I am the protagonist of a Hungarian proverb which goes like this: “he shouts like a worm stuck in a piece of wood.” All this hype around me is because my ancient name contains the word ‘worm’. Anyway, who has ever heard a tiny worm shouting? You can also call me a reed wolf, however, I really don’t get along with a wolf as it is much bigger and stronger than I am. If we live on the same territory, usually I’m the one who draws the short straw. At first glance, I look like a dog mix, my back and tail are grey-black, my belly and throat are grey-white, my sides and thighs are reddish, my chest is decorated with two brown stripes.

I am a pretty good runner too, on one marathon I got a really good position, being able to run for more than an hour at a 40 km/h speed!

As a rule, I like smaller animals, I’m a specialist in rodents, I always devour them! My old dream is to form a music band, because I love to howl, scream, growl, and snarl for long periods. Most people believe they heard me sing as a back-up singer at a Hungarian pop stars’ concert, but because of my confidentiality agreement I really mustn’t growl anything about this.

Fallow deer
(Dama dama)

We lose our broad, shovel-shaped antlers every year, then we grow new ones.

Given its peculiar form, we could imagine humans using it as a paddle for smaller boats. In the winter we change our summer chestnut coat with white mottles to a much darker, unspotted coat.

Our love life gets interesting only at the beginning of fall, our bucks that are eager to go on dates, get separated from our group, and from this point on they have it going pretty well. They paw the ground to create rutting stands in which they lay down looking all dashing and start to groan tremendously. They call upon the fastidious ladies, that is, does, with high-pitched groans. The winner buck is huge, every part of it is broad and healthy, its baritone bellowing probably has the same effect on does as Elvis Presley had on teenage girls.

Red squirell
(Sciurus vulgaris)

I am wearing a reddish-brown fur coat with a white spot on my chest. My splendid ear-tufts make me even cuter than I already am; upon seeing me people usually exclaim: “aww, how sweet”, which I can neither confirm nor deny as I have never tasted myself.

I never leave home without my bottle brush-like scrubby tail as it is quite attached to me. With its help I am able to balance myself like a true acrobat even on the thinnest branches of a tree.

Each of my feet features four toes ending in sharp claws, thanks to these I can climb extremely fast on tree trunks even upside down, after all I’m as swift as a squirrel!

I am one of the most effective nut cracker instruments in the forest. Thanks to my strong jaw and sharp teeth I can crack the outer shell of stone fruit without any problems, thus, I cheerfully crunch on hazelnuts and walnuts, and I am able to outsmart even the most complex-looking pine cones! With my specially devised bite, I open up the scales of the cones until I can comfortably reach the tasty and nourishing seeds.

Red deer
(Cervus elaphus)

If you walk about in the forest and you notice a brown coloured, almost square-shaped from the side, but nevertheless a graceful hoofed animal, you should know that’s me! And now let’s talk about what makes a stag the best: the king among us is the one who can grow the biggest, most beautiful and most complex antlers (trophy) on its head from spring until the end of summer. This signals that the animal belonging to these antlers is healthy and strong. The developing antlers are covered by a highly vascular skin, known as velvet. Their growth takes up to 120 days.

In early autumn the stag bellowing starts, also known as “Who’s the best stag in the woods?” competition featuring loud groans, showing off of antlers, displays of force and sometimes bloody collisions. Stags which are good at maths have an advantage in their fight for hind: they only count the branches of the antlers and from the results they can deduce whether it is worth starting a fight. All I’m saying is that it’s not recommended to start a fight if a stag has 24 branches in its antlers and has a black belt.

Eurasian lynx
(Lynx lynx carpathica)

I really don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but after the brown bear and the wolf, I am the third biggest predator in Europe; among felines I am the one who takes the throne… I mean, the floor.

My fur is very precisely spotted, it would be hard to confuse me with a ladybug as I have a peculiar grey and white ruff, pointy ears and decorative black tufts of hair on my ears.

I hunt at night, and of course, I am very busy even during daytime: I rest around on the side of cliffs, I take naps on fallen trees, I have a high tolerance to long-lasting, careless lounging.

I am flexible as most big cats, even in the deepest snow I am able to get a hold of my prey with a single, 3-4 metre high jump. My favourite meal is deer legs, au naturel. I am a specially protected species, and I have to thank this to fur hunters and to those responsible for deforestation, all of whom I avoid at all times!

Brown bear
(Ursus arctos)

I am omnivorous, that is, I eat anything from bugs and fruits to flower bulbs, and I gladly eat smaller rodents as well. From time to time, my distant relatives even have elks on their menus.

During the day, I usually enjoy my shelter dug in the ground, and I only growl… I mean, get out in the mornings and evenings to feed my growling belly. Between October and December I “preserve myself for winter”, I usually make my den under huge rocks or under the roots of enormous trees. During my winter sleep, I don’t eat food, drink water or take care of other needs as I use up the fat I deposited during summer. I cannot wait to get my nose out around March-May to feel the tasty sunshine of spring!

We used to inhabit most of the northern hemisphere, however, currently most of us live in Romania, the home of the biggest bear population in Europe. Due to the various destructive practices and hunting activities carried out by humans, our habitat was reduced to a fraction of what it once used to be. Because of this, many international agreements and domestic laws recognise us as a strictly protected species.

North American raccoon
(Procyon lotor)

I swear your Honour, even though I’m wearing a black “bandit mask”, I’m not the one who looted the bird nest last night, from where the three tasty eggs disappeared… right into my belly… And the fact that I’m also called a bandit is really just a coincidence!

I have absolutely nothing to do with bandits! Don’t get fooled by my compact and slightly chubby body, even though I waddle on the ground, you would be amazed to see how fast I can run, should the need arise! My hearing is excellent, my vision does not let me down during the night, this is why I prefer to carry out my mischiefs at night. I also hunt at night: my menu includes smaller rodents, insects, fish, and I even eat agricultural plants and cereals.

I am an extremely fast learner, I quickly adapt to the presence of humans: my favourite pastime is to roam around the streets at nights, then skilfully climb in trash cans and containers.

Mouflon
(Ovis aries)

Our ancestors used to sunbathe and graze to their liking on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia.  We enjoy the buds of different trees and bushes, as well as all kinds of tasty grasses.

In summer our coats are reddish, while in the winter they become richer and darker. We wear our “saddle” all year round, which is the scientific name of the two light-coloured patches on both sides of our backs.

Our mature rams perform some serious head exercises starting with the middle of October, in the mating period, to determine which ram is the smartest: with their horn curved in the shape of a snail they attack each other like two express trains… After the strongest-headed winner ram has satisfied his duties concerning the moufloness of his harem, the mouflon lambs will see the light of day within 21-22 weeks.

Fat Dormouse
(Glis glis)

If you visit me during the day, I’ll be probably sleeping, just saying. Until sunset, I sleep like a baby, or more like a grey furball, and I start the day, I mean night, when you go to bed.  Besides, I start preparing for the Big Winter Sleep in autumn, when I build up a lot of fat in my body: I eat fruit, seeds, mushroom and tree crust, sometimes I have a craving for some snails and other specialties too.  In “winter mode”, I’m not available even at night! I like living in abandoned houses, bird nests or tree holes, but I also love parks, forests, attics or any cozy place hat is protected from the rain. Of course I’ll bring my wide circle of friends along as I am not really the loner type. I say, it is best to sleep cuddled in each other’s dormouse arms!

Beech marten
(Martes foina)

Before anyone calls me a pine marten, I would like to point out the huge white spot on my chest. Among others, this is what distinguishes me from my pine marten colleague, who has a yellow spot on his chest. Although we both wear the same brown coloured coat, I don’t believe that we are similar at all, even though humans mix us up all the time…

I move about very skilfully due to my furless paw pads and claws; I’m in my element mainly at dusk, this is the time when I hunt.

I eat, among others, crunchy insects, smaller mammals, birds, but I also eat fruits. The recipe for my favourite cocktail: take one fresh, warm bird egg from its nest, bite a small hole into it with your sharp teeth, suck out its tasty contents and throw away the empty shell.

According to humans, I create a lot of damage because I move in their attics, I make a lot of noise and I chew on the insulation. I believe I’m pretty good at mechanical stuff, I could easily open a car repair shop, given that at night I chew a lot of colourful wires in the engine compartment. This does not make most humans happy, when they see my work, they usually just throw their hats on the floor.

Raccoon dog
(Nyctereutes procyonoides)

If you happen to not find me in my enclosure, it may be for two reasons: for starters, I’m a nocturnal animal and as such, during the day, I sleep in my burrow. Another reason is that I am extremely good at hiding, sometimes I can’t find myself either.

Although I cannot climb trees, I am very good at getting around in the thickest of bushes. I’m always guided by my nose, which comes in really handy when my belly is growling. I sniff for small rodents, insects, but I often fill my plate with fruits and seeds as well. I am no lonely wolf… I mean raccoon dog. In most cases I mate for life, this means that after choosing my partner in the mating period, I stick around even after the pups are all grown up.

Even though I am part of the canid species, I cannot bark and I don’t play fetch either. Unfortunately, our dense, warm fur is envied by most humans, a lot of us perish because certain two-legged animals want to get warm in our furs!

Aurochs
(Bos Primigenius Primigenius)

It may sound strange, but we actually became extinct during the 17th century. How is it possible then that you can see us now, you may ask. Good question.  The truth is, smart scientists applied various breeding and genetic methods to “revive” us.  Calm down, it’s by no means some gross zombie stuff. It‘ s more like they crossbred different breeds of cattle again and again, and again,  until they got a specimen with great likeness to the original aurochs. We are the results of this decades long process. Although we and our “forefathers” bear great resemblance, they were even bigger. Our special characteristic is the white patch following the contours of our nose. There’s no chance anyone can tame us; actually we are quite grumpy, so you’d better forget about making friends with us.

Western roe deer
(Capreolus capreolus)

Although pertaining to the Cervidae family, the roe deer is not a deer in the traditional sense of the word! As adults we are particularly picky and choosy, we only eat easily digestible foods with low fibre, high energy content, especially fresh green buds and leaves. This is the reason why we rarely go to restaurants, probably every waiter would lose their minds until we decide to choose something from the menu…

When we are born, we are tiny and light as a feather, however, we are known as the black belt, actually more like the white-spotted masters of camouflage! Books call mature females does, while mature males are called bucks. During mating season, bucks show territorial behaviours, they occupy territories and those who have the most appealing place, are liked by most does.

You can look, but you’d better not touch a fawn, even when you believe it has been abandoned; he is probably only waiting for his mother, who, upon returning from gathering food, will not continue to care for its fawn if she smells that it has been touched by strangers! Fawns raised in captivity rarely stay alive!

Rat
(Rattus)

I may look like an oversize well fed mouse at first glimpse, not without reason, as me and mice belong to the same family.  I just love to travel and see the world, ship is my favourite means of transport, which I’m the first one to desert if it’s sinking, you bet! Sailors could take it for granted that the ship was sinking, if they saw fleeing rats jump in the water. I still love sailing, although I took up flying as well recently, you know, one has to keep abreast of the times. Moreover, one of my cousins and his five buddies even travelled in space on the Columbia space shuttle. Not bad, huh? I’m originally from India, but my family populates all parts of the world now. I like being close to humans, unfortunately this feeling is not mutual, because they despise me for not being hygienic enough and I sometime have loads of fleas. I’m a nocturnal guy, I’m mainly in my nest during the day. I’m quite a tough, sensible creature, an honest-to-god survivor: I’m handy on every surface. I’m capable of swimming miles if necessary, have no problems with climbing up the wall, trees or rain gutters, and I can jump as far as 60cm. A friend of my great-great granddad was flung out of the window from the fifth floor, and he survived it without a scratch. I’m omnivorous, which means I eat everything, I mean literally everything. Even litter. I’m not joking. I’ve got very strong teeth, so I can chew through wood, plastic or even metal. If there is nothing else to find, I can live on soap, paper or used shoes. That being said, it may sound funny, but I still can be a picky eater, but it’s because I’m terrified of being poisoned, so I’m very suspicious of any kind of new food in front of me. If I see other rats getting sick of some food, there’s no chance I’ll taste it.

I’m a quick and enthusiastic learner, I love to play, I’m capable of dreaming or reliving things, and I’ve got a brilliant memory! Have I told you yet that I love ships?

Red fox
(Vulpes vulpes)

I am a predator, I prefer fresh meat, I chew on small mice, rodents, and as a true gourmet, I also consume berries and fruits. I hunt at night, during the day I have a siesta in my fox hole below the ground.

Darkness poses no problems to me as my ears and nose are extremely strong. My pointy, radar-like ears allow me to hear even the smallest noise, as my nose contains almost two million smell receptors, there is no prey that I cannot sense in a matter of seconds!

You can find me all across Europe, I am indigenous to Hungary, I belong to the Canidae species and the Vulpini tribe.

Given that I have a few survival techniques and I am a master in adapting to various environments, I am able to get along not only in forests and fields, but also in the proximity of humans: I can live in villages and cities as well. Unfortunately, I never get along with hunters who use “lightning sticks”.

European hedgehog
(Erinaceus roumanicus)

I get the leading role in several plays, I usually play a pincushion or a cactus with a huge success. If I sense danger, I roll into a spiky ball. The success of my self-defence tactic is confirmed by the sensible noses and paws of many dogs and cats.

My needle-like teeth are feared by the neighbourhood earthworms, but I gladly chew on bugs, crickets, snails, lizards, and even larger snakes. I also love fruit.

In the winter I sleep on a cosy bed of dried leaves and I roll into a compact ball; you’ll need a strong can-opener to open me up! During this period my body functions slow down, we can say that I hibernate – my heart beats very slowly and my body temperature barely reaches 5 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, in the autumn, I ate until I became chubby, so during the cold season I can use up all the deposited fat.

In the spring, my inner “thermostat” switches on and I reach the normal temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, and my stomach starts to grumble right away! I almost ran out of all my supplies during my long sleep, so in spring I have the appetite of a wolf… I mean, hedgehog!

Sika deer
(Cervus nippon hortulorum)

Actually I’m not indigenous in Hungary, I came from a far-away place, the exotic Far East; I have brothers in Japan, Korea, and  Vietnam. Similarly to fallow deer and red deer, I too wear a very effective camouflage: my yellowish brown fur is dotted on both sides. I can blend so perfectly into the summer forest, you have to check twice if you really saw me or it was just your imagination. I change to greyish fur during the winter to follow winter fashion trends.  So I like natural colours and natural style. Some say that my behind is too strong, not as graceful as other other deer’s, but I think they are just jealous of me. Especially that I have a neat little tail on this behind, which I use to signal to the others when I smell trouble. I prefer hiding deep into the woods instead of running in the open, as I’m not much of a sprinter, I get tired fast when I run. My voice is really one of a kind: it’s very thin, shrill, almost scream-like. People say I freak them out totally when I start speaking in the forest.

European wolf
(Canis lupus)

Some of our ancestors joined the sides of humans, they are what you know today as dogs. This “agreement” was beneficial for both parties – on the one hand, humans received protection, and during their hunting they received at least an extra set of teeth worth of help, on the other hand, with the help of humans, dogs received food and shelter constantly.

I dampen my wolf-like appetite mostly with meat. We hunt in packs: we gather around or chase for many kilometres our dinner helping it to reach the eternal pastures of heaven through precise team work and attention to each other.

We are very family-oriented, the pack is actually a big family in which everyone has a strictly established role and position. Otherwise we are very close to each other.

Our vision, hearing and sense of smelling is outstanding; if the wind’s direction is appropriate, we can smell the deliciousness of a deer from kilometres away. Our loud howling is a habit that humans find gruesome (they even get goose bumps from it) and it has been preserved by our dog relatives too.

Ferret
(Mustela putorius furo)

My name is Angela, but you can just call me Angi. I’m an albino ferret and I always become excited and curious when the keepers pick me up and hold me in their arms, I enjoy it very much! I have to shed light on the fact that I’m a predator, not a rodent. Humans used my ancestors to help them in hunting as our body is as flexible as a rubberband. We move comfortably in narrow burrows, we can even fold our body in two, we are good at going backwards, so we can liquidate rats, mice and coneys effortlessly. Nowadays, my friends are kept as pets, because they are funny and smart fellows, love to play, and they are attached to their keepers emotionally. We are quite good alarm clocks, you can be sure we will wake up early in the morning when we start to party.  We love playing fun games like wrestling and catching. We are admittedly kleptomaniacs, and we are keen to hide every kind of objects in the flat, and when our owners interrogate us, we’ll just look up at them innocently. What’s the harm if they have to fish out pens, keys or the beautifully colourful sponge from behind the sofa pillows? We are attracted to holes, pipes and tight spaces, and we are brave folks, we are not afraid of animals bigger than us, that’s why we get into trouble sometimes. We lack the “homecoming instinct” of dogs or cats, and we can’t survive in the wild if we wander away (we can even leave the flat through a vent-hole). As I told you before, we are predators, so we love yummy meat and crunchy bones; we can’t digest plant-based foot. So if you want to be kind to us, provide us with fun hiding spots amd tasty chicken wings… and keep your cereals for yourself.

Wild boar
(Sus scrofa)

We say this from experience – there is nothing better than a smelly-sticky mud pack, and like every respectable pig, we love to wallow in mud, which is our favourite thing to do each day.

We live in a group, which is known as a sounder in the scientific world, and our leader is usually a well-developed sow who has piglets. Even though our eyesight is not the best, our hearing and smelling compensate for this defect. Oh, and we would win every swimming competition in the animal kingdom any time, although we still need to work on our backstroke and butterfly stroke.

We eat everything, plants and animals alike, but we never leave a crumb on our plates. We love crickets, bugs, worms, and we will probably disgust you a bit, but we eat fallen stock as well.

Don’t get fooled by our strong, curvy shape (we can weigh anywhere around 100-200 kg), should the need arise, we can move faster than a kung-fu master, and we are able to get around easily even in the densest of thickets.

Wildcat
(Felis silvestris)

Even though I’m the spitting image of the neighbour lady’s yarn ball-tangling, nicely purring Mittens, I will never be a house cat! The same cat eyes, ears and paws – only a size bigger! Almost all of us wear a sandy-grey fur with a touch of ochre yellow on the lower parts of our body and the inner parts of our flexible legs.

Our main characteristic is our entirely bushy tail with black rings on it. Our dark tiger stripes – apart from having an indisputable aesthetic importance – help us in hiding because we are extremely shy animals, we avoid human contact. When it comes to being wild, we are pretty wild, for which smaller rodents, birds, lizards and insects pay the price.

We lead solitary lives, our territory may reach many hundreds of acres. We almost never hang out, we only “run into each other” from time to time. Our kittens start to become independent when they are 5-months old.

Buffalo
(Bubalus bubalis)

We love to roll around in water… well, actually muddy water, just like our wild ancestors, the water buffaloes.

We are strong as an ox: we once got into a fight with the neighbour’s bull, and he lost miserably! In the light of these, it is understandable that humans used us primarily for towing heavy weights, but they gladly drank our milk as well, which is used to produce the famous mozzarella and feta cheese.

I am kind and submissive with my owner, however, I cannot say that this true when I am provoked or cornered. In such times I can be very dangerous, I attack the person like a steam engine.

As for the forage, I am not picky, I like everything: sedge, reed, hay, marsh plants, as dessert I enjoy some heaps of freshly harvested and crunchy weed. Quantity is important, since a huge body like this requires a lot of energy! My dream is to win the forest weightlifting competition, but if this doesn’t come true I would like to call Mr. Laci Fekete, the strongest man in the world, for a little millstone grinding!

Western Jackdaw
(Corvus monedula)

While you would rather eat pancakes with syrup all day or stuff your belly with peanut butter and jelly, I would rather fill my belly with slugs, crunchy insects, squishy worms or tender chafer grubs; instead of spaghetti, I eat meters of, I mean, really long earth worms with my beak.

Although, at first glance I look like a crow, at a closer inspection, you may see that I really do not. I am much smaller, my beak is shorter, my eyes are bluish, and they become white as we grow older. The top of my head, my back and my tail are black, my neck on the side and the back of my neck are grey, while my belly is sooty black.

My friends living in the wild are faithful to their partners, they build their nests in the hollow trunks of trees and the nooks and crannies of buildings. If possible, jackdaw couples go on honeymoons to puddles and shallow lakes, because members of the jackdaw family love to paddle in the chilly waters, and we are very talented at it! We love to play, we are always up to something, especially when it comes to stealing sparkling stuff.

Hooded Crow
(Corvus cornix)

You must’ve already guessed I’m called hooded thanks to my elegant grey hood. We may not be the kings of adaptation, but we are certainly among the top three aspirants. I feel comfortable anywhere in the world in all kinds of environment. I’m absolutely omnivorous, I can feast on a half sandwich I’ve just picked up from a trash bin. I haven’t manage to throw the packaging in the bin so far, but I’m working on it. Speaking of packaging, that, or any other plastic object (straws, plastic forks, etc.) is a crime against the planet, so don’t use it if it’s possible. You will even make my life easier in coping with the sandwiches. Well, I was saying that I’m omnivorous, I’ve taken up the passion of fishing since I realized that I can entice fish by dipping morsels of bread in the water. If the bread gets wet, I get some more in the park. If I want to crack nuts or snail shells, I just drop them from a high place. When I find plenty of food, I’m wise enough to store it in one of my secret pantries: flowerpots, rain gutters, etc. Since my hoodie brothers are unfortunately as smart as me, sometimes they spy on me hiding my food, and loot my pantry when I’m away.

Pheasant
(Phasianus colchicus)

Although we got a C on the “Art of long distance high-flying” exam, as we maneuver rather uneasily in the air, we do fly for our lives when we are chased by hunters. We are truly colourful characters, especially the roosters: their bodies are chestnut colored, and they have a blue-green face with red wattles and bright shades around the eyes, white collar on the necks, golden glowing parts all over their bodies – 0% Photoshop, 100% pheasantness! Unlike their male counterparts, hens are not snappy dressers, but their plain brown-yellow feathers constitute a perfect camouflage suit that helps them blend into their surrounding environment and hide from predators. We like grassland habitats spotted with bushes, trees and thickets of reed, where roosters can proudly oversee their harem of hens taking care of their chicks. We feed on seeds, grain, the potato beetle is one of our favourites, but we don’t dislike spiders, insects or worms either.

Grey Partridge
(Perdix perdix)

There’s not much chance I’ll win a long distance flying competition.  I fly close to the ground with rapid wing beats, but after a short distance I have to glide gracefully to the ground and have some rest before taking off again. In spite of my small figure, I can make surprisingly loud alarm calls to warn the others of danger.  Thanks to my grey-brown feathers, I can easily blend into the shrub thickets, and it takes quite some effort from predators to spot me in the bushes, even my wife couldn’t find me once! I’m a monogamous bird, I remain faithful to my darling to the grave, and I’m quite attached to our place of living. Partridge hens lay eggs in grass-covered nests built in dug out holes. We believe that a big family is the key to a happy life, so we don’t stop until we have least 10 eggs, but we can have as many as twenty little chicks. In the first two weeks nestlings eat smaller insects and snails, then they gradually become vegetarians, sometimes eating a little spider on their cheat day.

Common raven
(Corvus corax)

You have my permission to call me professor for I am so brainy that even Einstein’s parrot would envy me! My problem solving capacities and intelligence are limitless, I believe I should teach ravenism and the art of adaptability in universities. I owe the latter to the fact that I’m omnivorous, I can eat anything which I believe is edible, be it an insect, a reptile, a smaller mammal or something bigger like the meat of fallen prey. Surprisingly,

I am categorised as a “songbird”, even though my singing is more like a rusty coffee grinder that grinds smaller stones. Otherwise, we are very good at imitating any sound, often human speech too.

We simply cannot resist shiny, sparkling objects either, I used to know a raven who was specialised in stealing golf balls.

We make our nests in the crown of trees or on cliffs, out of branches and twigs and make them more comfortable by using moss and fur. We usually mate for life, and just like a white raven, divorce is very rare among us.

Little Owl
(Athene noctua)

When you see me fly, you can easily mistake me for a pecking bird, but as soon as I landed, there’s no question who I am: the little owl. As our name suggests, we aren’t the biggest of owls – we are only 21-23 cm tall – but we still can hoot… I mean…scream… I’ll be honest with you, we skipped all the hooting classes … My head is naturally flat-topped, not the result of flying into a tree. They say I totally look like someone who’s up to no good thanks to my head and my funny eyebrows, but I beg you, never judge by appearances, I’m not at all the villain I look like! I’m really fond of insects, lizards, mice, moles – but they don’t really love me back, for obvious reasons. Maybe if I didn’t eat them…I believe in eternal love. I keep my marriage flying high, and I’m true to my partner in good mice and bad mice…err… times.

Tawny owl
(Strix aluco)

I would hereby like to draw the attention of curious amateur naturalists and unsuspecting photographers that if they approach my treasured nest during the incubation period, they should be prepared for a feather bomb blowing up in their faces and a torpedo of sharp claws and beak – I can be extremely aggressive with uninvited guests! I rent out the borrow of veteran trees, but I can get around in city environments as well: I always abide by the right wing rule!

I don’t want to brag, but out of all the Eurasian owl families I can fly the highest. My hearing is ten times better than a human’s and I will let you in on a trick: we have “spacial hearing”, because our left ear opening is located slightly higher than the right ear, it is also pointing a bit downward, thus, it is more sensitive to sounds coming from below.

I really love tasty mice meat and I gladly fill my belly with field mice, but I never refuse a dinner made from shrews, moles, bats or dormice.

We mate for life, we complement each other perfectly: I never complain that my partner hoots loudly in his sleep, and in return, he overlooks the fact that I yowl too much.

Wood PIgeon
(Columba palumbus)

At first sight, it is difficult to tell male and female pigeons apart, as we both wear grey uniforms with a glint of metal, with trademark white patch on the neck. We have a more or less similar patch on our wings too, but it is only visible when we are flying. We are absolutely romantic creatures. Male pigeons turn the head of their love interests by performing a charming dance in the air: they take off from a twig, climb rapidly 20-30 meters in the air, clapping their wings, before gliding down with their wings spread.  They still need some training to do a corkscrew or an aerial somersault properly, but it really doesn’t matter as long as they get ten points from the ladies. We strongly believe that the art of nest building is very simple: just put some sticks and roots together on a tree. Don’t listen to anyone saying it’s not a real nest, only a pile of sticks, it’s a much safer place for our eggs as it may seem from the outside. Initially, we feed our baby pigeons with crop milk, then we serve them seeds of weeds and other plants that we soften up in our crops. As adults, we like pecking oak nuts and beech nuts, corn or wheat, but we are as proficient as squirrels in retrieving pine seeds from cones.

Steppe Eagle
(Aquila nipalensis)

Considering our size, we are the Goliath of the air, weighing about four kilograms and with our almost 80 cm height we would mingle without problems in a kindergarten.

Our hands… I mean, wings reach out very far: our wing-span is almost two metres each. Although we fly at dizzying heights (we can even peek through the windows of a skyscraper), we still like to build our nests on the ground. We lay two eggs, and the offspring are taken care of by both parents. Sadly, after the eggs are hatched “sibling rivalries” may occur, scientifically known as “fratricide”, when the larger eaglet will kill the smaller one.

If we had a kitchen, we would cook only mice stew, mice soufflé and mice roasts, but we also hunt all kinds of smaller and medium size mammals. While circling in the sky, we track our prey with our eagle eyes, and before he knows it, he’s already caught between our sharp claws!

Magpie
(Pica pica)

My name is Pajti, and a I enjoy sitting on the shoulder of my keepers. I have to confess I’m a prolific thief. I’m crazy about shiny objects! I can’t resist stealing them and take so much delight in looking at them in my nest. I also delight in looking at my mirror image, as I’m the only bird that is able to recognize itself in a mirror, so as you can see I developed a quite good self-awareness. I don’t want to boast but I’m capable of using tools, for example to clean my nest, and if I find a lot of food, I can hoard the surplus to eat it later. It’d be so much fun to attend IT courses! I’d be the teacher…I’m omnivorous: I like seeds, insects, fruits, but if I’m really hungry, even smaller birds, nestlings and rodents are in danger.  I can be easily recognized from my beautiful black feathers, or my harsh, raspy sound.

Mallard
(Anas platyrhynchos)

Although we prefer living close to ponds, thanks to our exceptional adaptability (or recklessness, as others would put it) we can make a home for our families almost anywhere: we nest on terraces, balconies of flats, or abandoned tree holes. Sometimes you can even see us in cities swimming in drainage ditches, diving underwater looking for seeds, plants, worms, or frog eggs. While drakes are characterized by rich colours, hens prefer plain, brown speckled plumage, so that they can more easily blend into their surrounding environment while sitting on their nests. The little ducklings are born into a soft and warm place,  as their mother plucks down feathers from her breast to line the nest. Anyways, the hen have an exceptionally cunning trick (please don’t tell foxes):  if she thinks that her ducklings are in danger, she fakes injury to distract the enemy while nestlings flee to safety. She lures the predator far away from the nest before quickly flying back to her ducklings “healthy”. She’s received many Oscar nominations for this performance.

Rook
(Corvus frugilegus)

We regret to tell you that we have no intention of renting out our nets. They will do for many more years, they just need a little renovation, some “twig-rewiring”, and they are good to go! We stay together with our partners for years, or even for life, if that’s what rook gods want, and we share nest-making duties. We live in nest colonies called rookeries, and we are never afraid of conjuring a couple of fancy twigs away from our neighbours to pimp out our homes. We make comfy and durable saucer-shaped nests out of small twigs, then plaster it with mud to help hold it together, and line it with moss and other soft materials, such as animal fur.  Male rooks provide for females during the incubation period. During late autumn and winter, we look for food near roads, and we eat insects, worms, carrion or whatever we find. We are even prepared to pillage other nests if it comes to that. You would never imagine how intelligent we are. We may not be able to solve the Rubik’s cube, but we easily outperform parrots if it comes to imitating sounds, such as human speech.

Domestic Goat
(Capra aegagrus hircus)

We are domestic goats, namely, Saci, Csálé and Pisztoly. We are the descendants of the bezoar ibex.  Ancient Greeks worshipped us, for we “taught” them the tricks of pruning grape-vine. We just love chewing on any yummy green shoots, leaves, vegetables, shrubs and bushes, but when it comes to yews or foxgloves, we’ll pass… if we do not want to pass away, because these plants are extremely dangerous to every living creature –  including you – being severely toxic. We are notorious plant destroyers, so feel free to hire us anytime to clear forest edges and crop weedy areas within a short time frame.

We could sing eternal praises of the magical benefits of goatmilk if we could sing, since it is consumed widely in many parts of the world for its health benefits. As our digestion is excellent, plants that cause allergy to others, also have a place on our menu.  For example we have no trouble eating ragweed. However, our stomach only transforms its pollen – as if it were a virus – without breaking it down completely. Therefore goatmilk contains pollen in a form suitable for using it for immunotherapy. So anyone who drinks goatmilk can prevent allergies by exposing their body to a weakened version of pollen.

Domestic Goose

Please don’t call us silly geese, because we are in fact one of the most intelligent birds.  We certainly don’t excel at maths, we’ll probably never challenge you to a game of chess, and we are pathetic swimmers, but we are cunning enough to place sentries when the rest of the flock are feeding. The sentry is in charge of telling the difference between shepherds and hunters, and when a hunter’s coming, the sentry sounds the alarm.

We are not bad guard animals either. If a stranger comes near the fence,  we can make a hell of a noise, hissing threateningly, trying to chase away the intruder. Legend has it that our ancestors saved Ancient Rome, when their honking was loud enough to alert the guards to the enemy sneaking up the Capitoline hill.  We can be even more aggressive if we have little goslings, so stay away from our little ones if you don’t want us to bite you with our strong beaks, now you’ve been warned! Humans like to stuff pillows with our feather, and stuff their face with our meat and liver.

Domestic Rabbit
(Oryctolagus cuniculus var. domestica)

When not sitting in the grass, taking a nap, or jumping, I love spending my time crunching, for that’s how I wear down my constantly growing teeth. This is an activity farmers and gardeners are not particularly happy about.  Despite chewing a lot, I’m not a rodent, but a member of the order Lagomorpha – thanks to my four well-developed incisors – and the coney bros are our close relatives. We’ve got a pair of long, fluffy ears with which we are able to hear sounds you, humans cannot, so while you’re reading the present lines we might be having secret talks. When we wiggle our noses it’s not for the sole purpose of being supercute; it also helps us in our communication and smelling better. We use our legs for hopping, as well as for digging and grooming ourselves.

Domestic Turkey
(Meleagris gallopavo domesticus)

I got to Hungary in the 16th century thanks to my Turkish connections, I used to be called “indiai tyúk” (Indian hen) in Hungarian. Our family varies enormously in fashion style, feather colour and size, hence the different names: English turkey, blue slate turkey or bronze turkey. I personally think that attributes like “golden” or even “diamond” would be more fitting, as we are so unique, beautiful and smart. And modest, of course.  We are proud to be turkeys, and we are not afraid to show it. We are quite quick-tempered beings, and we get infuriated when someone taunts us or talks to us with a tone of contempt. We are capable of strutting in anger soon after birth. It means that we show the strength and pride within us. During strut, we adopt the “turkey chief” posture, puff out our breast, and lower our neck. When we are old and big enough (we reach the height of 50-60 cm and weigh around 6-7 kg), this performance is accompanied by huffing sounds, our whole body is trembling, and our eyes are blazing in anger.  It takes us quite a long time to cool down after that…

Domestic Chicken
(Gallus gallus domesticus)

We are as baffled by the “chicken-and-egg problem” as you, but according to scientific researches we are probably direct descendants of dinosaurs. Many humans like us and our eggs – properly dressed on their plates. The famous Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi even devoted a whole poem to a chicken, who actually lived inside the house! As a matter of fact, poetry is not really our thing, we love hatching eggs much more! Fun fact: our chicks can communicate with each other when they are still inside the eggs, and they can meticulously organize a synchronized hatching, meaning they come out of their eggs at roughly the same time. If it’s about protecting our precious little chicks, we are no chickens! Even the wildest cats will find themselves in great trouble if they want to mess with our little ones.  Hens and roosters can be told apart as early as a day after hatching: the ladies’ tail feathers are pretty much the same length, while the boys sport feathers that vary in length.

Hungarian Spotted Cattle

My name is Tulipán, which means tulip. You have surely guessed they named me that because I’m obviously as beautiful as a flower. My little friend, Nándi, arrived here later than me, but we get along very well together. We are raised mainly for our meat, and of course, milk, of which other diary products are made, such as cheese or butter.  Some time ago, when there were fewer cars, before everything was mechanized, we were used as plow animals thanks to our peaceful nature and enormous size, which enables us to pull heavy carts or plowshares. Male cattle are called bulls, and they can be as heavy as 800 kg, which is ten times heavier than an average human male. A productive cow can give over 4000 liters of milk in a year!

Mangalica Pig
(Sus scrofa domesticus)

Let’s make one thing clear: my nose is actually not an electric socket, however similar it may be. As every pig, I like doing piggy things. I spend most of my time eating, which soon makes me tired, so I take a nap, which makes me pretty hungry, so I have to eat again… and so on and so forth.  I also like to root every now and then, and wallow in the mud grunting. I’m not picky at all, I eat everything that ‘s put in front of me. I’m quite similar to other domestic pigs, only I sport a much more beautiful, curly fur.

Donkey
(Equus africanus asinus)

My name is Pörkölt, but just call me Pöri.  I’m famous for my pair of long, trademark ears.  I think they’d make quite good antennas. I’ve inspired many writers and poets. Our ancestors, the wild asses, who roamed the fields of Africa, are quite similar to us, except we have grown a thick winter fur, as winters are a bit colder here than in Africa. As most domesticated animals, we help humans a lot; they use us mainly for carrying heavy things thanks to our strength and persistence. Let’s make things perfectly clear: I’m only stubborn if my master is not good to me. If you are kind and patient to me, and maybe give me some yummy snacks, I will eat out of your hand.

Muscovy Duck
(Cairina moschata)

Our South-American brothers living in the wild are predominantly black, they spend a lot of time hiding on top of trees, and lay their eggs in a tree hole or hollow. As domesticated Muscovy ducks, we prefer nesting boxes, and we sport various colours like black, white or brown, but humans like us for our meat rather than our beautiful looks. As ducklings, we are just as pretty as any duckling you can see in the pictures of a storybook, but when we grow older, we grow reddish caruncles on our face, which makes us, how to put it mildly, pretty unique. Most of the people would use the word “ugly”. In turn, we won’t drive you up the wall with our constant quacking, as we can only make hissing and growling sounds. That’s the reason why we are also called mute ducks. We express our feelings with body language: we click our beaks, shake our heads, waddle our tails, etc.

Racka Sheep

We are true conquerors, as our ancestors arrived in the Carpathian basin during the Great Migration. If you want to count us before falling asleep, you should picture us white; black colour is less typical in our family.  Black sheep are born completely black, including even their skin and tongue, while their hooves are slate gray. After one year, they finally grow some white hair too. Our special characteristic is our long, spiral-shaped horn.

Cikta Sheep

Our history began during the Ottoman rule, when we arrived in Hungary with German-speaking settlers. Most of our ancestors were raised in the Transdanubian region, typically in Tolna and Baranya counties. Our horns are spiral shaped, our ears are erect and funnel-shaped. We are visited by the barber twice a year, when the neat-handed ladies make warm socks, gloves and other things out of our wool.