Animals living in the mountains must have special adaptations in order to survive. They often need to be good at walking on snow and ice. Especially at high altitudes, the air is thinner, making breathing difficult. They must also have a diet and habitat that they can find at the highest altitudes on Earth. These 10 animals have special adaptations that allow them to live in the mountains.
# 10 Amazing Mountain Animal: Brown Bear
Brown bears live in many places around the world up to 16,400 feet above sea level. The brown bear has long, blunt claws that they can use to scoop up food even when buried in ice or snow. Brown bears are at the top of the food chain as they are strong enough to break the necks of many animals in a single brawl. Their thick layer of fat helps them keep warm. They have an excellent sense of smell, so they often smell food up to 1.6 km away. Finally, brown bears eat almost anything, including plants and animals, making it easier to find food.
# 9 Amazing Mountain Animal: Himalayan Thar
The Himalayan Thar lives up to 16,400 feet above sea level. This animal has a thick, two-part coat that grows back in winter. The elongated length and thick undercoat help insulate it in cold weather.
One cool adaptation of the tar is that the hooves of the Himalayan tar are designed specifically for walking on rocky slopes. The hooves have a hard outer core that protects them, while the middle is softer, allowing them to walk better on uneven surfaces. Since they are easy to move around, they move to higher ground to feed during the day. They often stand on their hind legs and use their front legs as hands to reach vegetation inaccessible to other animals, such as mountain goats. With the onset of evening, they move to lower elevations, where it is usually warmer.
# 8 Amazing Mountain Animal: Lammergeier
The Lammergeier, also called the Vulture Vulture, lives up to 16,400 feet above sea level. This bird is a scavenger that feeds on about 80% of bones, so it can easily find food left behind by other animals. Its stomach acid has a pH of around 1, so it can digest most bones in less than 24 hours. These birds have no natural predators.
# 7 Amazing mountain animal: the Tibetan sand fox.
The Tibetan arctic fox lives up to 17,100 feet above sea level. These animals have thick fur coats, so they can easily endure the cold. They have a powerful jaw that allows them to eat a variety of meats. Males and females are usually linked for life, and during the hunt they work as one team. They have keen hearing, so it is easier for them to hear their favorite food of running rodents as they try to escape.
# 6 Amazing mountain animal: the Himalayan marmot.
The Himalayan marmot lives up to 17,100 feet above sea level. They live in dens up to 30 feet deep in the ground with their families for up to 6 months of the year. Each of their front paws has four toes with long, concave claws, allowing them to dig better. Since there is more than one animal in the burrow, it is easier to keep warm. This is especially useful for puppies. While all Himalayan marmots stay in their burrow for about 6 months of the year, females with their calves often spend another two months. While the females are in the den, the males are usually nearby and constantly scan for any signs of danger. When the Himalayan marmot hears or sees danger, it communicates with a small series of alarms that repeat every 5-20 seconds.
The researchers found that the Himalayan marmot has an adaptation of the Slc25a14 gene compared to lower-altitude marmots and other rodents. They believe this adaptation helps the animal breathe thinner air and helps control body temperature. These marmots have quick reflexes that help them catch their prey more easily.
# 5 Amazing Mountain Animal: Kiang
Kiangs live up to 17,700 feet above sea level. These animals, which are the largest wild donkeys, have longer hair in winter to keep it warmer, and shorter hair in winter. These animals give birth to young when food is most abundant. Their only predator is wolves.
Kiangs live in groups of up to 400 animals. These close-knit groups can travel far for food because the kiangs have very thick legs. When food is most abundant in July and August, they put on up to 90 extra pounds that they can use when grass is harder to find in winter.
# 4 Amazing Mountain Animal: Chiru
Hiruses, also called Tibetan antelopes, live up to 18,000 feet above sea level. These animals migrate to lower elevations in winter and remain on higher elevations in summer. Some animals that scientists believe are the healthiest and youngest migrate, while others remain in winter pastures throughout the year. These animals have wool, which helps them to keep warm.
During rest, the viruses dig holes in the ground. This behavior still confuses scientists a little, but most believe that the depressions up to 45 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep help hide them from estrid flies.
# 3 Amazing Mountain Animal: Tibetan Gazelle
Tibetan gazelles live up to 18,900 feet above sea level. These animals can run at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour and stay on it for more than 60 miles. To breathe thinner air, Tibetan gazelles do not produce adult hemoglobin, but they retain juvenile globin throughout their life. This allows the animal to use the available oxygen more efficiently. Scientists have not found any other species where this cool adaptation is taking place. In addition, these animals have special air sacs in their wide nostrils that help them absorb more oxygen.
The Tibetan gazelle has double hair. Its outer layer is woolly, which helps keep them warm. Their coat becomes longer in winter and shorter in summer. They also have a very thick undercoat.
# 2 Amazing Mountain Animal: Yak
Yaks can live up to 20,000 feet above sea level. The thick tongue of the yak helps it lick moss and lichen off rough surfaces. Although there are not many nutrients in the diet of a yak, they do have a scar. Chewing gum like a cow helps them get more nutrients from the available food. The yak has a very large scar. This way, they can take in more food at one time and leave it in place until they are ready to eat it. The long intestine of the yak is also longer than that of most animals. It also helps them get more nutrients from food because they stay in their bodies longer.
Yaks have larger hearts and lungs than other members of the cattle family. They also have higher blood cell counts. All of these are cool devices, as they help the animal maintain the blood flow of the animal at freezing temperatures, which allows its body to use oxygen more efficiently. Like many mountain animals, yaks have a very thick coat. Its coat is waterproof, which helps the animal to keep warm. In addition, it has wide hooves designed for walking on snowy and icy surfaces. Therefore, the yak has no problem migrating to lower altitudes in winter.
# 1 Amazing Mountain Animal: Alpine Jackdaw
Alpine partridge can live up to 21,300 feet above sea level. This bird nests higher than any other bird in the world. They have wide, powerful wings and tails that help them withstand strong winds. They also have deep-slit fenders for easy maneuvering. These birds, which fly in flocks, often use currents of air to reduce the amount of energy they expend during flight. These birds nest in rocks, which helps protect them from strong winds.
Eggs have fewer pores than other eggs. Consequently, these eggs lose less water. The hemoglobin in eggs is also different, so it requires less oxygen. When hatched chicks are born, their body is covered with a thick, fluffy coat.
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