German Word of the Week: Fundschlange


The German for find is finden, and the past tense is gefunden. Carve out the middle 4 letters of gefunden, and you have fund. Which doesn’t mean fund in English, that word, in “German”, is Fonds, pronounced the French way, since it’s a French loan word (g). Oddly enough, Fonds, in German, is a singular masculine word, even though it has an ‘s’ at its end: “I invested in a Fonds.” Go figure.

Fund is one of those German prefixes which can be attached to almost any word — in this case, to describe something which was found. The lost and found office is a Fundbüro (find-office), and the objects stashed in it are Fundsachen (find-things). Fundkind (find-child) is one German name for a foundling. I can’t be sure (little help, anyone?), but I suspect the English word “findspot” might be derived from the German archeological term Fundort. These words, by the way, are called Determinativkomposita in German.

And now back to the image above. It’s from the Munich Reptile Rescue Center, and describes the woeful condition of a Fundschlange (find-snake) brought into the center by the Unterbiberg Fire Department. The poor bastard had been chewed on by rats, but is expected to make a full recovery.

And in case you’re wondering, a rescue dog is, in fact, a Fundhund (“foond-hoond”) (g), which is one of those German words which gets funnier every time you pronounce it.

3 thoughts on “German Word of the Week: Fundschlange

    1. …that’s the most common term, for sure, but Fundkind is also listed as a lesser-used alternative. (That’s why I said Fundkind was “one” term for a foundling, but not “the” term. See what I did there?)


  1. Fundschlangen are not my favourite animals at work. They elicit a primal terrifying fear.
    Indeed, in my practice on the fringe of Sydney, I have had professional contact with three of the most venomous schlangen in the world (brown, tiger and red-belly black schlangen), including several fatal bites of dogs. Can’t blame the schlangen, obviously, since it is the dogs who insist on attacking the schlangen to begin with.
    Interestingly, cats rarely get bitten (with the exception of Jo Jo Pumpkin and Shadow who got nailed by brown snakes but miraculously survived after anti-venene and weeks of expensive care), presumably because of their fluid feline movement, pin-prick reflexes and superior feline hunting focus.
    At one point when I lived opposite some bush, one of my little shy cats got into the habit of leaving dead baby red-bellies on the front doorstep. I felt that this was a variation of the cat bringing home the trophy mouse to it’s owners/people. I even caught him one evening with a live one flapping around in his mouth as he had it held by the middle (amazingly it did not manage to get around and bite him).


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