Is it allowed to catch butterflies in Austria?

Hi iNat,
I’m going on vacation to Austria this summer and am planning to take a butterfly net with me. Are there any laws that prohibit catching butterflies (or other kinds of insects) or should I look out for any protected species which I’m not allowed to catch? I only want to catch them to release them after observing them, so no collecting.

You’re not allowed to “disturb” protected species and inside of nature preserves (“Naturschutzgebiete”, e g. Lobau in Vienna) not allowed to disturb anything (or leave the trails).

I have no idea if a butterfly net would count as “disturb” though.


From a 2014 thread on ResearchGate:

Q: Which countries have banned insect collecting by private persons?

A: As far as I know, it is prohibited in most [of the] counties (parts) of Austria (butterflies), except Tirol. In other parts you can have permit, as private collector. If are you University worker, situations is much more easy to obtain it.

I think it would only be a problem if you were killing them for an insect collection and transporting them back home. You should be fine as long as you release them!

I can’t speak for Austria but here in California it’s against the rules to capture anything in basically every local park, state park, and I think all National Parks without some sort of permit or license, even if it’s temporary. Whether or not they actually enforce those rules is one thing, but I think unless you’re on your own property I wouldn’t assume it’s OK to catch any insect.

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Parks are a completely different thing. I have only seen rules on fish or game, so I assumed butterflies were fine.

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