Lake Cerknica is home to the tiniest snail, the biggest of bears, and everything in between. The diverse flora and fauna of the area have always captivated natural scientists and nature enthusiasts, and they always offer something new, yet unseen...
Draining of the lake lures bears, wildcats, polecats and other beasts out of their forest shelters as they cannot resist feasting on fish caught in puddles. Otters visit streams at meanders, whereas a wolf family chases a tired hind out on the plain...
Spring melts the ice crust, awakens thousands of amphibians from hibernation and lures them from their underground nooks out onto the lake. And now the mating can begin! Masses of green and tree frogs and common toads loudly and relentlessly greet the evenings late into summer. Most extraordinary is surely the over-wintering of common frogs in one of the caves. Up to 20,000 individuals may gather there in the course of winter, which is the largest event of its kind in Europe.
Myriads of stone- and mayflies complete their cycle in water and swirl in their mating dance on the wings of summer nights. This bug wedding turns into a great banquet for bats. When the weakened insects totter into the lazy meandering streams, fish take over the feast, and afterwards, numerous organisms, sometimes invisible to the human eye, also take their turns. The latter transform the organic matter into the inorganic one and make it available for the plants again. In this way, the lake gives and takes lives in its unique manner in the never-ending circle of matters and energy flow.
The colourful mosaic of habitats, often impassable terrain and abundance of food provide shelter and enable the survival of this remarkable animal world. All living creatures are closely connected to each other, and together with the karst soil and typical climate, form an extraordinary ecosystem – strong and vulnerable at the same time, an ecosystem called an intermittent lake.
|Number of native species:||12|
|Share of mammal species found in Europe:||50%|
|Share of amphibian species found in Europe:||24%|
|Share of butterfly species found in Europe:||29%|