Our collection of vertebrates

In addition to our zoological specimens of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and mammals, our collection also includes skulls, skeletons, antlers and horns, animal coats, nests, and eggs.

Our collection of birds

With more than 71,000 specimens (including 19,000 bird eggs), this collection is the biggest in Lower Saxony and one of the most extensive in the whole country. Around half of the worldwide known bird species are represented in this collection. The oldest specimens of the collection date back to the foundation of the ducal “Kunst- und Naturalienkabinett” in 1754. (Fehler im deutschen Text) A notable feature of this collection is its high number of extinct species like the great auk, passenger pigeon, laughing owl, and Carolina parakeet.

Our collection of reptiles, amphibians, and fishes

Our museum owns valuable reptile specimens from all over the world. It is the only significant collection of reptiles in Lower Saxony. The oldest pieces date back to the 17th and 18th century. During the 19th century, the collection was expanded by Johann Heinrich Blasius with snakes from Southern Europe that he had collected himself. At the beginning of the 20th century, collections from the former German colony of Cameroon and Madagascar were included. The current director of the museum Ulrich Joger added specimens from North Africa and West Asia.

The fish collection consists of 1,657 specimens, including 12 type specimens from the German deep-sea expedition in 1898/99.   

Our collection of mammals

This collection contains around 8,000 specimens. One exceptional feature is our Steller’s sea cow, which is permanently exhibited in the Light Hall. It is the best-preserved specimen of this extinct species outside of Russia. Of similar value is the last lynx of Northern Germany (shot in 1818), which can be seen in one of our dioramas.