During excursions around the Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve, it is not unusual to run into some of the animal residents. The Reserve has an important natural heritage thanks to its rich biodiversity. The Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve is, in fact, host to many species of animals and, in addition to the many animals of the Apennines, it provides an ideal habitat for numerous protected species.

One of our most prized animals is the deer which has established one of the largest populations in the Northern Apennines. As well as the fallow deer and roe deer, you can also spot wild boars (which were reintroduced during the 1950s). The main predators of the Reserve’s animals include foxes, martens, badgers, weasels and, occasionally, skunks. Rodents also reside here, such as porcupines, squirrels and dormice.

Special mention should be made to the reappearance of protected and important animal species in the Reserve, some of which have disappeared permanently from many other Italian forests. The most difficult animals to see are wolves and wild cats: these are definitely two of the most fascinating and mysterious predators in this part of the Apennines.

There are many other protected species that inhabit the woods in the Reserve, some of which are classified as species of European Community interest. They include the crayfish, the Italian cave salamander, the spectacled salamander and the fire salamander, as well as the yellow-bellied toad. The Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve is an environment of enormous naturalistic value.

The King of the Forest

The Acquerino Deer

The largest population in the Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve is undoubtedly the deer (Cervus elaphus L.) population, known as “dell’Acquerino” (of the Acquerino). It is one of the most important deer populations in the Northern Apennines. The deer chose the reserve as their ideal reproductive habitat. The presence of extensive forests that have little undergrowth and large clearings allows these animals to move quickly without their movements being blocked by low branches and shrubs, where the males’ antlers would easily become entangled. During the Autumn, walking around the reserve, it is easy to hear the powerful sound of the deer, the male’s usual mating call.

The Animals of the Reserve

The animals are often hiding, but they are always watching us. When there is no one around they finally come out into the open. Here are the inhabitants of the Reserve!


Another important aspect in our Reserve is the birdlife. During the day and night, you can spot our very important birds of prey. These include the honey buzzard, sparrow hawk, buzzard, kestrel, tawny owl, and barn owl.

The other birds include: the jay, the green woodpecker, the greater spotted woodpecker and the nuthatch, as well as other numerous birds such as partridges and pheasants, and migratory birds such as wood pigeons and woodcocks.

Discover the Nature of the Reserve

Raggi di sole tra gli alberi nella foresta della Riserva Naturale Acquerino Cantagallo
The wildlife is only a part of the enormous natural heritage of the Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve. The territory of the reserve offers nature that is still largely unspoiled and wild, dominated by beech, chestnut and other ancient trees. Discover the nature of the Reserve!

The nature of the Reserve