They were already used by the Incas to transport their goods.

They were already used by the Incas to transport their goods.

Sources used: own research Statista: toilet paper adventurers: healthy alternatives to toilet papermore sources show less sources

"Hike? How boring!" Many a parent will have heard of their offspring on their last family vacation. But in many places in Germany, Austria and Switzerland there are now possibilities to make the big hiking tour more exciting for the youngsters with animal companions. And no matter how unusual it is like the snow animals husky and reindeer or four-legged friends such as donkeys, llamas, camels or cows. no child will speak of boring hiking anymore. You can also find six tips for animal hikes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in our photo show.

Hiking with llama, reindeer and Co.
Photo series with 14 pictures

Austria: Got the dog in the Bohemian Forest

In winter they are in their element: Huskies are insensitive to the cold and impress with their high performance. But you don’t have to go straight to the North Pole – dog sledding tours are also fun in the Bohemian Forest. 30 sled dogs live on the Mountain Wolf Farm in Aigen in Upper Austria. If you tackle the five kilometers with Angel, Firo and Balto, you definitely need perseverance: when it goes uphill, every musher – driver of the sled dog team – has to support the dogs and run with them. Various arrangements can be booked – from a family taster day to a four-day Šumava expedition, covering 60 to 80 kilometers and spending the night outdoors

Osnabrück: Where does the expression come from? "stubborn donkey?"

Brigitte Priesmeier from Stemwede near Osnabrück describes her eight donkeys that hike with the guests as gentle, attentive, patient and calm. On the other hand, they are not stubborn – rather thoughtful: "With their leisurely manner they help to perceive the environment better." Those who lead a donkey can tell by their ears what is going on inside them. "You quickly forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life" explains Brigitte Priesmeier, who also offers therapeutic and educational programs with donkeys. Depending on the length of the booked trekking tour, it goes to the Dümmer See or through the Stemweder Berg ridge. If the hikers are lighter than 70 kilos, then they are allowed to sit up with the greats in places.

More about trekking and hiking:

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Kraichgau: With alpacas through the Baden Tuscany

The alpacas also take it easy on a guided hike through the "Land of 1000 hills" in the north of Baden-Württemberg. The callous soles with their fluffy fur exude an irresistible calm that lets you experience the landscape with different eyes. During the tour, breeder Christian Schmid tells interesting facts about the peculiarities of the animal companions, of which not many specimens are kept in Germany, but which have since become a familiar sight in the Kraichtal community of Bahnbrücken since 2010. The offer is suitable for children, young people, the disabled, senior citizens or even entire families. Since March 2012, equipped with hurricane lanterns, night hikes with the animals have even been possible.

Rhön: A kingdom for a lama

Llamas are similarly good-natured: the small camels come from South America and live in mountain regions up to 5000 meters above sea level. They were already used by the Incas to transport their goods. Caruso, Pedro and Nala, who live with 22 other conspecifics at Johannes Nüdling’s in Poppenhausen in the Rhön, carry the luggage of the hikers on excursions. But Johannes Nüdling is also concerned with them "harmonious relationship between humans and animals" that arises when hiking together. Half-day tours have the Wachtküppel or the Guckaisee as their goal, day tours lead to the Wasserkuppe. If you have fun with the shaggy companions, you can roam the nature reserve with them for two days.

Jahrstedt: The reindeer are on the loose in Saxony-Anhalt

What do you learn in a reindeer school? For example, that the animals are a domesticated species of deer and actually live far in the north. But seven years ago Angelika Peters fulfilled a childhood dream and started herding reindeer in Jahrstedt in Saxony-Anhalt. She is currently looking after eight animals that are only a meter high at shoulder height. Peters not only lends the naturally calm and humane four-legged friends for Santa Claus appearances, but also offers carriage rides, reindeer trekking tours and night hikes with overnight stays in tents.

Munich: Desert ships in Upper Bavaria

In Valley, 30 kilometers south of Munich, they are now a familiar sight: the camels Attila, Shakir and Suleika as well as nine other conspecifics are regularly out and about in the Mangfall Valley. During the one and a half hour tour, under the guidance of Konstantin Kluges, the desert ship captains not only learn all sorts of things about the nature of animals, but also find out that they rock a lot on the back of a camel. Incidentally, the Upper Bavarian trample do not come from Africa, but from Mongolia, so that they do not mind winter weather.

Switzerland: hiking and riding with cows

It is said that happiness on earth lies on the back of a horse. And what is it like sitting on a cow? If you want to try it out, visit the Bolderhof in the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen. The Morgenegg family offers half-day trekking tours on cows not far from Stein am Rhein: It goes through fields, the floodplain landscape of the Biber and Rhine rivers and through the forest. Not all of the 26 dairy cows on the farm are suitable for this – only those with a friendly, calm character are used. Including a picnic, the riders on the cows who are put on a belt to hold on to are on the road for four hours. For the less courageous there is the possibility of going on a cow-wagon ride like in the old days. Further information:

Mountain Wolf Farm, Grünwald 2, A-4160 Aigen-Schlägl, Tel. 0043/732/601166,, A family taster day costs 149 euros for adults, 99 euros for children up to 15 years and 29 euros for children under eight years of age; Šumava expedition from 1199 euros per person. Eselhof Priesmeier, Oppendorfer Str. 1, 32351 Stemwede, Tel. 05773/335,, Three-hour half-day tour from 160 euros per group, day tours from 240 euros per group. Schmid’s Alpacalodge, Gochsheimer Straße 19, 76703 Kraichtal-Bahnbrücken, Tel .: 07250/1388, Fax 1413905,,, standard tour of 1.5 hours for adults 10.00 euros, children up to 14 Years 6.00 euros, children under 5 years free. The Alpacalodge also designs individual tours according to your wishes."Rhön lamas" Ludwig-Nüdling-Weg 16, 36163 Poppenhausen, Tel. 06658/1600, Fax 918819,, Half-day tours cost from 19 euros for adults and from 9 euros for children, day tours from 29 euros for adults and from 15 euros for children, two-day tours from 129 euros for adults and 89 euros for children. Rentierschule, Germenauer Str. 3, 38486 Jahrstedt, Tel. 039008/689,,; Two-hour tours from 39 euros for adults and 19 euros for children, night hikes from 59 euros per person, one-week reindeer driving license from 480 euros. Bayern-Kamele, 83629 Weyarn, Tel. 08063/9966,, www Rides take place on weekends and by appointment, adults pay 55 euros, children 45 euros. Heinz and Doris Morgenegg, CH-8261 Hemishofen, Tel. 0041/52742/4048,,; Four-hour hike 150 CHF for adults, children between 10 and 15 years 100 CHF; short lap CHF 90 per person

Piper is a patient bitch. The female golden retriever doesn’t just nurse her own pups. Two orphaned raccoon cubs were also allowed to suckle their teats for a few weeks. Otherwise the little bears would have starved to death.

On Valentine’s Day, Piper gave birth to four pups in Texas, the Huffington Post reports. Only a few days later, her foster mistress Crystal Crotwell received a call: Two baby raccoons needed a new home after their mother was killed.

Four week old raccoons looking for a home

Crystal Crotwell didn’t hesitate. She took in the raccoons, who were about four weeks old. But before she could feed the screaming little ones for the first time, Piper trotted out of the bedroom – startled by the noise. Crotwell carefully held a baby raccoon in front of the dog and let her sniff. The little raccoon began to purr and Piper seemed interested.

But would the raiders actually drink milk from the bitch? And would Piper let that happen?

Raccoons began to suckle on their own

"As soon as the little ones saw Piper, they crawled to their teats and began to suckle. And she allowed it" said Crotwell, according to the Huffington Post. "They sucked and sucked and sucked. And then Piper licked it clean."

Crotwell, who had also taken Piper in for care, captured the touching scenes with the camera. You can also see them on the animal welfare organization’s Facebook page "Pilots N Paws".

After three weeks the danger became too great

Three weeks later the puppies had grown so much that the risk of injury for the little raccoons was too great. The wild animals were therefore brought to a breeding station nearby, where they are now being prepared for a life in freedom.

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But Crotwell is proud of her retriever lady: "She is the most good-natured dog in the world".

Such a heartfelt encounter does not often come before the lens of a professional. The photographer Marc Latremouille was witness to this exuberant declaration of love between a mother bear and her cub in Lake Clark National Park in Alaska: "Actually, I just wanted to photograph the bear and its two cubs" the 47-year-old remembers.

(Source: hgm-press)

The bear cubs are always very playful, reports the nature photographer. "One of the boys was suddenly chasing a couple of seagulls. When his mother noticed that it had gone unauthorized, she immediately went after the little cheeky badger."

(Source: hgm-press)

"You can tell from the boy’s expression that he knows very well that there is going to be trouble," white latremouille.

(Source: hgm-press)

The mother bear runs at full speed towards her cub. It almost knocks the offspring overboard.

(Source: hgm-press)

The little bear holds on to his mother and remains steadfast.

(Source: hgm-press)

The photographer Marc Latremouille was very impressed by his encounter with the animals: "Getting so close to these majestic animals in the wild was an extraordinary experience."

(Source: hgm-press)

The park in Alaska became the "National Monument" explained

Lake Clark National Park is a nature reserve in Alaska. It has a total size of more than 16,000 square kilometers. There are no roads to the national park, so it can only be reached by plane. In addition to hiking, rafting or kayaking tours, the most popular activities in the park include wildlife viewing.