Alpine tundra is considered as a land of extremes. It has strong and frequent winds along with cold temperatures. Hence, it limits the plants that can grow there.
Alpine tundra is opposite to the Arctic tundra and away from the pole regions. The word “Alpine” is derived from the high mountains found in Central Europe called the Alps.
Alpine tundra has no trees and most animals migrate to this region during summer periods. Due to the extreme condition, not a lot of animals can be found here.
Animals living in the Alpine tundra should be adapted to these types of problems including the cold and high UV light exposure. No wonder, the Alpine tundra is home for many warm-blooded animals and a couple of insect species.
These animals normally hibernate, move to warmer regions and equipped with thick layers of fur and fat. Let’s see these 6 animals you can find in Alpine tundra.
- Snowshoe Hare
Snowshoe hares are the members of the rabbit family. They have large hind feet, long ears and short tails. Their body is similar to rabbit. They can weigh around 3 to 4 pounds and be over a foot in length.
Their hind feet act as snowshoes. They help them to move atop of snow. The fur on their feet also act as traction on the snow. Snowshoe hares run in zig-zag patterns that make them difficult to catch by predators.
- Himalayan Tahr
Tahr is the relative of wild goat species. The Himalayan tahr is one of the three species of tahr beside the Arabian tahr of Oman and the Nilgiri tahr of southern India.
The Himalayan tahr is around 26 to 40 inches tall at the shoulders and is around 5 feet long. In the winter, tahr has a dense, reddish to dark brown wooly coat with a thick undercoat.
This coat keeps it warm during the cold season. It will also migrate down the mountain to more protected areas in the winter.
Another animal you can find in the Alpine tundra is chinchilla. Unfortunately, chinchillas are considered as an endangered species. The chinchilla has a silvery gray pelt along with black tipped soft hair.
Chinchillas are nocturnal animals, which means that they are active at night. During winter, their fur will get denser. They also have outstanding abilities to jump, cling, and climb over rocks which protect them from predators and help them survive in the wild.
Regarding to their diet, chinchillas are herbivores. They mainly feed on plants, roots and grasses. Unfortunately, men have killed chinchillas for their pelts because they make soft and beautiful coats.
- White-tailed Ptarmigan Bird
Beside those mammals, there is also a bird species living in the Alpine tundra. It is the white-tailed ptarmigan bird, or also known as the snow quail. It is the smallest bird in the grouse family and permanent resident of the high altitudes.
This bird species is a herbivore as it mainly consumes leaves, flowers, lichens and berries. Interestingly, the male white-tailed ptarmigan birds are monogamous and remain with the same mate for one breeding season. They do strutting and displaying their tail feathers in order to attract females.
The next animal you can find in the Alpine tundra is alpaca. Alpacas usually live in the Andes Mountains, but can be found in other locations as well.
They are about 3 to 4 feet tall and weigh around 120 pounds. Regarding to their lifespan, they can live up to 20 years on record. They are herbivores too.
Unfortunately, alpacas almost went extinct during the Spanish invasion as they were killed for their meat and fur. Have you every found it difficult to differentiate alpaca from Llama? Then, you can read differences between llama and alpaca.
- Snow Leopard
Snow leopards are noticeable for their greyish-white with darker greyish-black, circular spots all over their body. They weigh around 120-170 pounds and can grow up to 7.5 feet long.
To keep their body warm during winter, they are equipped with very thick fur. They can live up to 20 years. Unfortunately, there are only around 4,000 to 7,000 leopards left in the Earth.
If they keep being hunted, then they may go extinct soon. Due to that fact, snow leopard is listed as one of the endangered feline species.
Beside the Alpine tundra, there is also the Siberian tundra. Spend time reading these animals live in Siberian tundra.
Unfortunately, men have brought a lot of bad impacts on the environment and as a result, some animals are in endangered status. We need to start the action of saving those animals by stop hunting them.