A floodplain under water – No problem for alluvial specialists

Drawing of a life ring

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Floods in the floodplains - everyday life for the animals

Flooding is an extreme event. But animals of the floodplain have adapted to this recurring phenomenon. Here are some examples of alluvial specialists: Birds can simply fly to a different location when the water gets too high. It is a good thing that many of their nests are safe up in trees. And lots of bird species can swim.

Animals that live on land flee to higher ground

Creatures living on the ground have no choice but to flee to higher surfaces. Every dead tree, floating piece of wood or other climbing aid is a welcome rescue. Being a good swimmer is also an advantage. Frogs and newts are excellent swimmers and divers.

Spiders, ground beetles or leaf snails get creative during floods

If flying, running or swimming is not an option, you have to get creative: Spiders can release a thread of silk and be lifted into the air to safety. Spider flight is called ballooning, and the wind can transport the feathery arachnids up to 100 kilometres. Some ground beetles are skilled enough to simply walk on water. Leaf snails stick their heads in the sand. When waters rise, they burrow deep into the ground and wait out the flood.

Watch the animals get to safety.

National Geographics

Ballooning spider

On a silken thread, it goes on the run alone with the power of the wind. For such an uncertain way to escape, you have to be pretty brave.

Veronika Öder

Water strider

Quite clever. The water strider takes advantage of the "skin of water" (surface tension) and can therefore move on the water without sinking in. If things get dicey, it can also fly.

Great Crested Grebe sitting on branches in flooded Rhine floodplain

Great Crested Grebe

If you live with the water like the Great Crested Grebe, a nest that can swim is a safe haven for the offspring. Even when the high water comes.

A frog in the water


High water? No problem. The tadpole lives in the water anyway until its complete transformation into a frog.

Where does the animal shown here take refuge during high water?

Match the matching pairs of pictures. Click the corresponding pair in each case.

Drawing frog
Drawing bird
Drawing squirrel
Drawing spider
Drawing tree
Drawing water
Drawing cloud
Drawing cloud
Drawing frog and water
Drawing bird and cloud
Drawing squirrel and tree
Drawing spider and water
Drawing frog and water
Drawing bird and cloud
Drawing squirrel and tree
Drawing spider and water
Drawing of a life ring