The harsh environment of the mountain makes it difficult for many creatures to live there. For those that do, they require a lot of evolutionary advantages developed over time, like thick fur and padded feet.
Generally, most mountain biomes consist of three types of forests – montane, subalpine, and alpine. Animals like snow leopards and ibexes live in montane forests, hares, cougars, and black bears in subalpine forests, and mountain goats in alpine forests.
Here’s a list of some of the above animals living at some extreme altitudes:
Altitude (from lowest to highest)
Tibetan sand fox
Adaptations developed by species living in mountainous regions
For warmth – As most mountains have cold temperatures, several animals living in these biomes have developed thick fur.
For locomotion – Some animals, like the ibex and mountain goats, have hooves with a hard outer edge and a soft center, allowing them to navigate the treacherous terrain.
For respiration – Due to the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes, animals like the yak have larger organs like hearts and lungs to absorb and retain air better.
Animals living in these habitats are at risk from climate change, habitat fragmentation, and wildfires.
Several creatures living in this habitat have been poached for their fur. These include chinchillas, chirus, snow leopards, etc. What makes matters worse is due to the small size of several of these animals, more than one needs to be killed to create usable clothing items. This has led to a decline in the population of several species, with the snow leopard being classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN.
The kiang is the largest wild ass and is one of the inspirations for the unicorn.
Bearded vultures, or lammergeiers, love to feed on the marrow present inside bones. They fly to great heights while carrying a bone and then drop it on a rock to crack it open to access the marrow inside.