With a terrain which combines plains and plateaus, gorges and valleys and even a few mountains, the Ile-de-France region offers a varied landscape which encourages animal species to flourish.
The region is currently home to some 6,600 varieties of animal. Even a rough cross-section would demonstrate the overwhelming predominance of insects (of the 6,600 varieties of animal, 5,600 are insects). The forest of Fontainebleau, which has been awarded protected forest status and which became a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1998, for example, is home to ten or so wild cats.
It is also mainly in the forests that badgers, roe deer, wild boar, foxes, red deer (the most common in Europe), hares, stone martens and pine martens, which all fall into the mammal category, are observed. Ornithologists will be pleased to know that there is also a great variety of bird species. You may even be able to catch the Eurasian sparrow hawk, the honey buzzard, the common buzzard, the goshawk (a diurnal bird of prey, the only species living in Europe), the hobby (small falcon), the long-eared owl, the tawny owl, the grey-headed woodpecker, the black woodpecker or the nightingale....through the lens of your binoculars or your camera. It is also worth noting the presence of various species of bat such as the lesser noctule, the lesser mouse-eared bat, Bechstein's bat or, the smallest of them all, measuring just four centimetres, the Kuhl's pipistrelle. Add in a few snakes (the natrix Maura, the venomous vipera aspis and the ringneck) and butterflies (the gonepteryx, the peacock butterfly, the Painted Lady and, the largest in Europe, measuring around 3 and a half inches, the swallowtail) and you've got a pretty full zoo.
After rats, pigeons, and dogs, cats are probably the most common animals to be seen in Paris.© Pascal ANTOINE
The cries of seagulls overhead can be heard even in Paris.© Michael Lane / 123RF
The muskrat is an invasive species in Paris with strong measures being taken to eradicate it.© Pascal ANTOINE
The mink is a small mammal combining two families: the American mink and the European mink.© Pavel Bortel / 123RF
The owl is a generic name that covers different types of birds.© Lothar Hinz / 123RF