Four animals to spot in Tuscany
Get out your binoculars and go on the trail of Tuscany’s wildlife. Here are four creatures that call Tuscany home.
Tuscany’s wild boar, or cinghiale, has the dubious double honour of being a local emblem and a local delicacy. You are most likely to spot these animals on country roads at dusk, and they’re often tempted down from the hills by the scent of ripening grapes. Blackish-grey in colour, they have a distinctive wedge-like silhouette, bristly ridge, long snout and surprisingly dainty trot. The young piglets have pale stripes running through their chocolate-brown fur. Treat wild boar with extreme caution – mothers might attack if they feel their family is threatened.
These spiky rodents are most active between sunset and early morning, when their acute hearing, sensitive paws and finely developed sense of smell are more useful than their eyesight. Insouciant by nature, they amble about the undergrowth in search of windfall fruits, seeds and insects. If you spot a porcupine, it is best to leave it alone because its poor eyesight means it can quickly become aggressive, stamping its feet, grunting and flaring its white-tipped quills in defence. See one in action here.
Roe and Fallow Deer
Herds of bold fallow deer are often sighted on open arable land at dusk and in areas rich in blueberries and mushrooms – their favourite meals. Look out for their distinctive long neck, slim head, spotted brown coat and antlers with spade-like tips. The shy roe deer are harder to spot because they tend to hide in the forests, but you’ll know you’ve seen one from their small tail and a coat that turns from red-brown to thick grey during the winter months. Both species are majestic creatures and watching them run, jump and swim is a truly memorable experience.
Unlike rabbits, hares don’t live underground but in scrapes – small areas of hollowed out earth. So if you spot these around your villa in Tuscany, it’s a sure sign that hares are close by. Look out for them in the evening; they’re larger than the rabbit, with bigger and black-tipped ears, long legs, sandy brown fur and white bellies. The hare’s preferred territory is cultivated countryside or level ground within forests, where it can turn in different directions at great speed to flee predators.
To Tuscany has a fantastic collection of isolated villas in the Tuscan countryside.