If you get out of the busy cities and spend a day or two in nature, Bulgaria will enchant you with its range of wildlife. Deer, semi-wild horses and hundreds of bird species, it is better than any zoo. Here’s a brief list of some of the most interesting wild animals you can see in Bulgaria.
The bear is the largest carnivore in Bulgaria and can be found in the Rhodope Mountains, Rila Mountains, Pirin Mountains, and Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains). Around 20 years ago there was a large number of men with dancing bears on chains roaming around the country and asking for money for the show. These shows were forbidden and a huge rehabilitation bear park was established near the village of Belitsa (111 miles/180 km from Sofia) where bears are reintroduced into the wild.
The number of wolves in Bulgaria has decreased dramatically over the last century and it is now an endangered species. Wolves live in parts of Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains), Strandzha Mountains, the Rhodopes, and around the city of Ruse.
The fox can be encountered in many places in Bulgaria, usually in forest areas. If you visit Sofia, you are likely to see foxes in Vitosha mountain, the closest mountain to the capital.
In the summer you can see the horses running wild in the mountains, especially in Stara Planina (Balkan Mountain), while in winter they live in their owner’s stables.
Wild rabbits are still widespread around Bulgaria, mainly in the flat and low areas.
Boars are known to be aggressive when they are with their cubs so stay out of the forest in the Spring. Wild Boar are hunted in Bulgaria and in some areas their population is stimulated in order to offer better hunting conditions.
There are a few species of vultures who live in Bulgaria and ecological organization’s are trying to bring them back and stabilise their population. One of the best places to go if you want to see vultures is the region of Madzharovo where you can join bird watching activities with local experts.
If you spend some summer days on the Black Sea coast, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins. Sometimes they swim close to the coast and jump out of the water to the delight of the holiday makers.
Storks have a special role in the local folklore. They are believed to be the birds bringing spring with them. Storks spend the winter in Africa and come back to their nests in Bulgaria every year at the end of March.
This bird can be seen only in a few places in Europe, one of them Srebarna Nature Reserve in Northern Bulgaria. Plan at least a day for Srebarna as it’s included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is full of interesting flora and fauna.
The cuckoo has a special role in spring. Old people say that when you here the cuckoo song for the first time in spring, you should check your wallet. If it’s full of money, you’ll have a prosperous year. If it’s not, it is going to be bad for you.
Hedgehogs can be seen in the wild as well as in cities and villages. Some people in the villages even leave food for the hedgehogs to make sure they are around because they are famous for eating snakes.
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