The mountains are not the easiest habitat for animals. It presents its own set of challenges, with a colder climate, and a higher altitude resulting in lower availability of oxygen, among the greatest difficulties.
On top of this, there is little vegetation to supplement their dietary needs and a rugged and steep landscape that can be difficult to traverse.
So, the animals that you encounter in the high mountains are often powerful and sure-footed. They will need to be able to withstand the difficult realities of their habitat.
This means that the animals you might encounter while exploring the mountains will be interesting – and potentially dangerous.
In this article, we will discuss some of the many creatures you can find roaming the mountains. Read on for more!
Animals You Can Find In The Mountains
Here are some animals you can find in the mountains!
The Tibetan Sand Fox
First on this is the Tibetan sand fox! This species of fox can be found on the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayas, and the Ladakh Plateau. It is considered to be a true fox species!
The Tibetan sand fox lives high up in these environments, some living as high as 5300 m. These foxes are clever, they will form a symbiotic relationship with brown bears while hunting for food. Namely, pikas.
The bears will dig up a pikas’ burrow to force them out, and the foxes will grab the pikas when they inevitably try to outrun the bears.
Other prey for foxes include:
Tibetan sand foxes will also eat the carcasses of other animals.
The Himalayan Tahr
Next, we have the Himalayan Tahr! Also known as the Hemitragus jemlahicus, the Himalayan Tahr is an ungulate with even toes that can be found in the Himalayas in southern Tibet, Nepal, and India. They can live at altitudes from 2500-5000m.
The Himalayan Tahr’s primary source of food is grass. In fact, 75% of its diet is made up of grass, and it will spend the majority of its time grazing or browsing.
Its thick fur is great insulation against cold weather, while it has sponge-like pads which help to grasp other smooth rocks. And, Himalayan Tahr have a hard outer layer on the hooves to stop them from growing sensitive to rocky or difficult terrain.
Sadly, the Himalayan Tahr is considered to be a near-threatened species. This is because its population has been reduced by both hunting and habitat loss.
The Carpa Falconeri, also known as the markhor, is a species of Capra that lives in the Central Asian, Karakoram, and the Himalayan mountains.
The Markhor is perfectly adapted to live in the mountains and can be found in altitudes from 600 to 3, 600 m. However, its preferred habitat is scrub forests.
The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan. They are creatures that will browse during the winter but graze during the spring and the summer.
Markhors are listed on the IUCN Red List as a near-threatened species. This is because it is often hunted for body part trade, as well as its meat.
Do you see the characteristic curled horns on this animal? That’s where the bighorn sheep got its name!
These animals can be found in the mountains of the US, Mexico, and Canada. This includes the Sierra Nevada mountain range as well as the Rocky Mountains.
The Bighorn Sheep has an excellent climbing ability. They are extremely agile and will use this to their advantage to escape from predators. This includes bobcats, coyotes, wolves, and Canadian lynxes.
As such, these animals are not considered to be a concern in terms of endangerment.
Male Bighorn Sheep will fight for dominance, and can be found charging at each other at speeds of around 40 mph! Their horns will act as battering rams. As such, these sheep will have reinforced skulls that will protect them from serious injury.
Next on our list, we have the Chinchilla! They are scientifically called the Chinchilla chinchilla or the Chinchilla lanigera, the former name applied only for those that have short tails.
Chinchillas are a type of rodent. They live in both arid and rocky environments in the high mountains of the Andes. They are very much equipped to live in the mountains, having the densest fur of any mammal on land!
Short-tailed Chinchillas were previously hunted for their soft coat, while long-tail chinchillas were hunted primarily for the pet trade industry. Unfortunately, this means that now both types of chinchilla are endangered, at least in the wild.
Chinchillas are also now bred for the pet trade and for their fur.
The Mountain Gorilla
Last but not least, we have the mountain gorilla. The fur of this gorilla is longer and thicker than any other gorilla type, making it safe for it to live in lower temperatures and higher altitudes.
Mountain gorillas are mostly herbivorous creatures. They will eat shoots, leaves, and many other types of foliage. They will also eat termites, ants, and other types of insects.
Mountain gorillas can be found in the Virunga Volcanoes (Also check out Animals That Live In Volcanoes) and in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Sadly, the mountain gorilla is a critically endangered (see also: Why Are Gorillas Endangered?)species, as only around one thousand of them are alive in the wild.
So, there you have it! There are many different kinds of animals that live (see also: Animals That Live In Colorado)on various mountains all over the world.
These animals have all learned to adapt to the harsher climate of the mountains, from the dense fur of the chinchilla to the sponge-like hooves of the Himalayan Tahr that allows it to grip and maintain balance on the rocks.
Some of these animals are listed as a non-concern in terms of extinction, but unfortunately, some of them, like the mountain gorilla and the markhor, are in danger for various reasons, whether it is because they are hunted for meat, their coat, or if their habitat has been destroyed.
We hope this article told you all you needed to know about animals that live in the mountains!