When the sun shines in spring, many people like to go for walks. You can enjoy nature and get some fresh air, especially in the forest. However, you should pay attention to certain smells in order to avoid dangers.

When the temperatures rise and the sun shines again, many people in Germany head out into the forests. Caution is required there, especially in spring – and a good nose.

No matter whether it’s a hike lasting several days or a relaxed Sunday walk in the great outdoors: as soon as you smell Maggi in your nose, you should turn back immediately.

If it smells like Maggi seasoning, then there is probably a wild boar nearby. “Then take the same way you came and increase the distance,” explains Jenifer Calvi from the German Wildlife Foundation.

The Maggi smell arises accidentally from the sprouting herbs in the forest, explains wildlife biologist Konstantin Börner from the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. The smell particularly attracts wild boars. Where it smells of Maggi, the wild animals are not far away – and the encounter can be particularly dangerous for hikers.

Wild boar mothers in particular, who often travel in groups with their young, can perceive people as a danger and react particularly aggressively. Forest visitors can encounter such families at any time of the year.

If hikers encounter such a wild animal, they should initially stand still, be quiet or hide behind a tree. “Wild boars see very poorly,” explains the German Game Reserve Association. Then: Watch the animal and slowly retreat in a different direction.

If large animals or wild animals suddenly cross your path while hiking in the woods and fields, it can give you quite a fright. But running away isn’t always the best idea.

It’s not a good idea to walk through the middle of a herd of cows, says Wiesenthal. Hikers should walk past the cows quickly and with enough distance. The American outdoor expert Rachel Levin also recommends keeping a distance of at least two meters and not standing still in her book “Cow Staring Banned!” As the title suggests, cows don’t like direct eye contact.

“If you can look a cow in the eyes, you are definitely too close,” says animal keeper Christoph Gorniak from the Arche Warder livestock project in Schleswig-Holstein. And he warns: “If you walk towards cows, they feel harassed and become confrontational.”

Extreme caution is advised when the cow has her calf nearby: “If you still have a dog in your arms, it’s your turn!”

Wolves normally keep a sufficient distance from humans. But in the mating season between February and March, the animals get closer to humans: “The wolves sometimes get a little confused,” explains Wiesenthal.

Anyone who encounters a wolf should not run away. Similar to dogs, wolves otherwise consider humans to be fleeing prey, explains Wiesenthal. Instead, you could defend yourself with a piece of wood.

It also helps to show strength and make yourself big. “Stand up, clap your hands, shout loudly, be dominant,” advises Calvi. Anyone who has seen a wolf should always report it to the authorities, for example the police.

If you come across sheep unexpectedly, you should wait until the herd has passed by. “Cyclists should definitely get off and give the animals a wide berth,” recommends zookeeper Gorniak. You should behave naturally and confidently, not flailing or shouting.

“Loud noises cause the animals to panic. If children want to pet the sheep, this should definitely be stopped. If the animals don’t like that, they simply box the child over and throw him over the heap,” explains Gorniak.

Have you ever had to deal with unruly seagulls on the beach or promenade? “You shouldn’t picnic near seagulls,” advises Plön ornithologist Bernd Koop. They beg, but they don’t actually do anything to you.

Except for seagulls with a lot of tourist experience: They beg until you give them a few bites from the picnic. If not, they use the effect of surprise and snatch the bag of fries out of a child’s hand, says the expert.

However, caution is advised near breeding islands. “To defend their offspring, they make a lot of noise and try to impress intruders by swooping,” explains Koop. But that only works for anxious people.

Here Wiesenthal gives the all-clear: “Lynxes are very shy. You should be happy if you see one at all.” Then the animals take flight on their own.

Deer are particularly dangerous during the rutting season from September to October. Then the following applies: keep your distance and retreat to a safe place, says Wiesenthal.

It’s best not to scare the animals in the first place, explains Calvi. It is important: keep dogs on a leash! In this way, people can prevent the animals from becoming frightened and dangerous.

Foxes are harmless as long as they are not sick. Rabies no longer exists in Germany, but some foxes suffer from mange mites, reports Wiesenthal. This disease is also contagious to humans, especially dogs.

So: keep your distance, back away and keep your dogs on a leash. You can recognize sick foxes because their fur looks terrible and the animals are injured. The biologist advises informing the responsible hunter so that he can take care of the animal.

Raccoons only attack when they feel cornered. “Then a raccoon can bite, and that hurts,” says Wiesenthal. His advice: People should not even approach raccoons and under no circumstances should they block escape routes.