Animals in the Alps of Europe

Updated on May 9, 2016

What Animals Live in Mountains in Europe?

Animals that live in mountains like the Alps in Europe are naturally enough often those that shy away from contact with humans. However, if you do visit the Alps and walk quietly away from the busy paths, you may well see some of these Alpine animals and birds during your wanderings.

Top Ten Animals in the Alps

I've listed here 10 of the most loved animals (and a bird) found in the Alps. They include the Alpine Marmot, the Chamois and Alpine Ibex, and the European Lynx.

Some others are animals that live in mountains in other parts of Europe or on other continents too, such as the Red Squirrel and the Brown Hare. But all are a wonderful part of the Alpine ecosystem whose existence is jeopardised to some degree by human threats. Already a number of native species of Alpine animals have disappeared, the bear, wolf, and beaver among them.

While captive breeding programmes seek to stop the extinction of these creatures, there is nothing quite like seeing animals in the mountains where they belong.

Alpine Marmot -- Marmota marmota - Murmeltier (German), Marmotte (French), Marmotta (Italian)

Marmot near Furka Pass, Switzerland
Marmot near Furka Pass, Switzerland | Source

The Alpine Marmot is a rodent with a thick fur coat, large front teeth, and small ears. This much-loved animal can be seen scampering around sunny mountain slopes and may occasionally wander across your path. Some marmot populations, such as those near the alpine mountain resort Davos in Switzerland, have become more used to humans and will eat from the hand.

The Alpine Marmot belongs to the squirrel family, and eats grass and herbs. It hibernates in winter.

Video of Marmots in Austria - See these delightful Alpine animals eat and play

This short nature film about marmots shows a marmot family up close in the Austrian Alps. (There is brief narration in German.)

Red Squirrel -- Sciurus Vulgaris - Eichhoernchen (German), Ecureuil (French), Scoiattolo (Italian)


Sadly not as common a sight as once it was, the Red Squirrel is now a protected species. Although generally recognisable by its reddish colouring, a Red Squirrel can also have black fur, and it has a pale underbelly.

The Red Squirrel lives in woodland, as well as in parks and gardens. Its diet includes eggs and young birds in addition to plants.

Brown Hare -- Lepus capensis - Hase (German), Lievre (French), Lepre (Italian)


The Brown Hare is another creature that may be found across Europe, but this endangered species is generally wary of humans and is well-suited to solitary life in Alpine areas.

In breeding season, Brown Hares can be seen 'boxing' with their forefeet as they balance on their hind legs.

The Brown Hare has a mainly plant-based diet but occasionally will also eat small animals.

Edible Dormouse or Fat Dormouse -- Glis glis - Siebenschlaefer (German), Loir (French), Moscardino (Italian)


The Edible Dormouse (also known as the Fat Dormouse) is one of 3 varieties of Dormice found in the Alpine regions. The (ironically) rarer Common Dormouse and the Tree Dormouse are protected species, and are smaller and lighter.

This little rodent has large, dark eyes and thick grey fur. It has an omnivorous diet that includes plants and berries, eggs and baby birds.

Alpine Ibex -- Capra ibex - Steinbock (German), Bouquetin (French), Stambecco (Italian)


The Alpine Ibex is a type of mountain goat with long curved horns. It lives high up in the Alps where it has a diet of lichen, grass and herbs.

Having been hunted almost to extinction, the Alpine Ibex is now a protected species. It normally lives between 12 and 15 years.

Video of Alpine Ibex - See these mountain goats in the wild

This video captures a group of Alpine Ibex in the wild. See these amazing animals in their natural habitat. (Those horns come in useful for scratching an itch!)

Although the title is in German, there is no narration. Just some wonderful filming.

Chamois -- Rupicapra rupicapra - Gaemse (German), Chamois (French), Camoscio (Italian)


The Chamois is an Alpine goat with a coat that changes from a red-brown with dark underparts in summer to a blackish-brown with light underparts in winter. It has slim, curved horns. It can be recognised by the dark stripes from eye to nose.

The Chamois is perfectly designed for high altitude living on mountainsides. This nimble animal has hooves that allow it to remain stable-footed on rocky ground. It eats grass and herbs.

The tuft of hair that is often seen on traditional alpine hats comes from the neck of the Chamois. It is also known for its soft leather.


Common Shrew -- Sorex araneus - Spitzmaus (German), Musaraigne (French), Toporagno (Italian)

This little creature has a large, whiskered snout and tiny eyes. The Common Shrew is a carnivore and has a voracious appetite. It lives in woodland, and is not unique to the Alps but rather can be found in most countries of Europe.

Here's an interesting fact about shrews from Wikipedia:

Young shrews often form a caravan behind the mother, each carrying the tail of the sibling in front with its mouth.

Pine Marten -- Martes martes - Marder (German), Marte (French), Martora (Italian)

The Pine Marten belongs to the same family as the badger, stoat and otter, and all can be found in the Alps. It lives in woodland and forests.

The Pine Marten has a dark coat with yellowish underparts and a distinctive yellow throat patch. It eats small mammals such as squirrels, birds and their eggs, and berries.

Eagle Owl -- Bubo bubo - Uhue (German), Hibou (French), Gufo (Italian)


The Eagle Owl is the largest species of owl that is found in the mountains of the Alps. It can be up to 70 cm (27 inches) in height. The Eagle Owl has distinctive bright orange eyes and tufted ears, and feathered legs.

The Eagle Owl generally lives on high rocky ledges and hunts mammals and birds.

Other species of owl found in Alpine areas include in order of descending size: Tawny Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Barn Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, Little Owl, Scops Owl, and Pygmy Owl.

Video of a wild Eagle Owl visiting the city - An Eagle Owl ignoring a cheeky Crow!

I had read that Eagle Owls were good-natured. The crow in this video puts that theory to the test as an Eagle Owl rests on a chimney in a city in Hungary.

European Lynx -- Lynx lynx - Luchs (German), Lynx (French), Lince (Italian)


The European Lynx is a highly-protected species that has been reintroduced to the Alps. The populations of lynxes are more stable in other parts of Europe such as Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

This medium-size cat has a brown coat with dark speckles, a short tail with black tip, and tufted ears. It hunts deer, goats and smaller mammals.

A lynx can live up to 15 years and prefers a woodland habitat.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you learned something interesting about the animals of the Alps mountain range.

Questions & Answers

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    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 2 years ago from UK

      Thanks so much, glad it was useful!

    • Schoolmom24 profile image

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      Researching for a class I may be teaching at our co op (using the book, Heidi and learning about the Alps and the wildlife). This is a great resource, thank you! Loved the pictures and great information!

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      liny-tan 4 years ago

      oh i like the owl very much!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great pictures!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thx so much!

      this rely helpd me on mi SS project!

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 5 years ago from Here

      I enjoy animals everywhere... :-) I have learned a lot from your very good lens with lots of beautiful pictures! Thanks a lot for sharing!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @TanoCalvenoa: I know, funny name. As far as I know, the Romans used to eat them. I don't know if any cultures do now. Thanks for the kind comment!

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      TanoCalvenoa 5 years ago

      "Edible" dormouse? Do people eat them??? This lens is really great, thanks for sharing this information! I love animals and geography, and knowing where certain animals live.

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 5 years ago

      What a beautiful creature the Lynx is :)

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 5 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I'm sure I saw a pine marten once from a train window whilst travelling through the alps. It was so fast that I only got a glimpse, but it surely looked like one. I like to think it was, anyway. This is a lovely lens.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @anonymous: Thanks for stopping by, your comments made me smile. :) I love animals too.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love fuzzzzzzzzzy animals!!!!! by the way i ment to put those z's there, annnnnny ways I love fuzzzzzzzzzzzzy animals i could squeeze them!!!!! reply if you like this comment!!!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      i love animals so much im writing a story for my school! [ Churcland Elementary School ] [ Ces Tigers ] LOL!!!!! I love animals so much I could squeeze every single animal except a alligator or croc or lion or snake. But, I love animals soooooooooooo much!!!!!

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      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      Gorgeous photos and beautiful animals - so different to the ones where I grew up (Australia). I haven't learnt much about the native animals in the region since I moved here just over a year ago. It's sad that so many species of animals are protected, with more at risk.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @waldenthreenet: I think most people are aware it matters, but there always seem to be other priorities for all but the dedicated few. It would be a pity if the only place some of these creatures can survive is in captivity, and that's fast becoming the reality for the larger ones among them.

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 5 years ago

      Most immportant topic. How important is wildlife conservaiton for Europeans ? Thanks.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @D_L_Harbin: Me too! Thanks for visiting.

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      D_L_Harbin 5 years ago

      Such beautiful animals. I would love to have been the photographer!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @CatarinaAz: Me too, Catarina.

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      CatarinaAz 5 years ago

      They are so cute! I hope In the future humans have more respect for those animals!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @Jogalog: It is indeed. You have to have sharp eyes to see some of them, and others are very rare indeed.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      It's such a shame that some of these creatures are so rare nowadays.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great lens which reflect your love for Swiss Alps

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I most certainly did enjoy your alpine animals lens. Nice photos and interesting animals (and one bird). Of course, I gave it a thumbs up!


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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lovely lens - saw my first Marmotte the other year.

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      einsteinmoomjy 5 years ago

      I liked the Pine Marten best :)

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      Chamonixfirst 5 years ago

      Great, thanks :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      @EMangl: Love those marmot pics, EMangl! I only met one once, and briefly. Glad to find such professional shots by others. Just let me know if you want a written credit as well as the link to your product on Zazzle, I normally add them but did this one in a hurry... I will get around to it though.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      oh, nice to find my marmot here.

      in a few days where are at grossglockner again, my daughter is looking forward to meet those cute animals again :-)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lynx can be found in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (Carpathian mountains)

      the Lynx was almost wiped out from the Alps by humans, same as bears and wolves...if you are able to find a few dozen lynx cats in the Alps - consider it a big deal

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      XGRA is wrong. Eagle owl is Uhue

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      AngelDeanSquidoo 5 years ago

      I love this lens. Lynx are great. Like the lens.

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      dream1983 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Alps are stunning!

    • aksem profile image

      aksem 6 years ago

      Thanks for such beautiful pictures. I am ashamed that when I was skiing in the Alps I have not even thought about what amazing creatures inhabit these mountains. Thank you for having dispelled my ignorance

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @MelonyVaughan: Did you know black squirrels are becoming more common throughout central England? :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      @anonymous: Thanks XGRA, that's interesting to know!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures and animals! BTW an owl is called "Eule" in German but an Eagle owl is called "Uhu" :)

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      I enjoyed the wonderful pics and reading about the animals in the Alps!

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 6 years ago

      Loved it. When I visited I watched the cows come down from the mountains. What a great show with the cows dressed up in their finery and the shepherds keeping them in line. Talk about a traffic jam, LOL!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      Great information about animals in the alps, and absolutely wonderful pictures. Enjoyed it a lot.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      Since I was revisiting your Alps, I had to come see the animals again too :) I love the Eagle Owl video.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      Gorgeous photos! One of the things I like about the mountains is all the different wildlife that make it their home.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I miss the red squirrels - they're such rascals!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Appreciated this lovely feature on alpine animals. Always enjoy learning as much as possible about the fascinating world of wildlife. May we stop encroaching on their habitats and negatively impacting the delicate balance in which so many precariously exist.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      I've been lucky enough to see some of these in the flesh - skiing bores me so we went exploring with a local). Angel Blessed.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      Such a beautiful lens. When I visited the Alps, I didn't know animals resided there.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      Enjoyed this lens very much. Beautiful photos! Love that one of the red squirrel!

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      Dress2Impress 6 years ago

      Ha this is a great question! I love animals so was curious right away. Nothing surprised me too much though. You should write about some mythical creatures that are legened to live there too.

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 6 years ago

      Absolutely lovely lens! I love wildlife photography! We have Whistling Marmots here in our mountains in the Pacific Northwest US. Loved that straddling squirrel photo!

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 6 years ago

      Love this page! beautiful Alps animals :)

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 6 years ago

      Beautiful Lens ! Enjoyed visitng. I cast my vote "Like". Thanks .

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 6 years ago

      I love the Lynx, cool lens, blessed..:)rob

    • TheFrenchLife profile image

      TheFrenchLife 6 years ago

      Interesting lens! Thanks for the info :)

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Delightful lens. Blessed.

    • LDWorld profile image

      LDWorld 6 years ago

      Great job!! Excellent lens for animal lovers like me :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      @molometer lm: Oh I love the Dassie. I heard they are related to the elephant (seriously, if anyone thinks that's a joke, as I did first time I heard it). Not sure if there is any connection with the marmot although you are right, they look quite alike. I'll see if I can find out.

    • molometer lm profile image

      molometer lm 6 years ago

      Hi Great Lens on Alpine animals. There is a very similar animal to the Marmot that lives on Table Mountain in Cape Town. It's called a Dassie or Latin name a Rock Hyrax. Wonder if they are related?

    • nestboxes profile image

      nestboxes 6 years ago

      Great page. Love the animals. I beleive they have also reintroduced bears

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      tgnyc00 6 years ago

      Great lens!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Enjoyed reading your lens. Love the pics of the animals.

    • DavidDWarren LM profile image

      DavidDWarren LM 6 years ago

      Love the animals photos! Very cool lens!

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      carolinemoon 6 years ago

      Love your lens!

    • DieselJoe profile image

      DieselJoe 6 years ago

      I've driven thru the Alps a bunch of times but never thought too much about the animals living post.

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      SIALicenceUK 6 years ago

      Love the Red Squirrel doing the splits, made me laugh. Great Lens.

    • privresearch profile image

      privresearch 6 years ago

      Very informative lens!

    • SydneyH LM profile image

      SydneyH LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens, I love the animal photos.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      As always, this page is beautifully designed. My favorite of the animals in the Alps you described is the European Lynx. The red squirrel is also interesting. My son has black squirrels in his backyard in Iowa. :)

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 6 years ago

      Some super cute animals here. Well presented, thanks for putting this together. :)

    • chrisstapper profile image

      chrisstapper 6 years ago

      The fat dormouse is so cute. Thanks for sharing!

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      MyDestination 6 years ago

      Really enjoyed this lens! love animals

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      abrahamgpg 6 years ago

      Love all the beautiful pictures. I think it's time for me to think about a holiday in the Alps. :)

    • almond24 profile image

      almond24 6 years ago

      Wonderful animals and lens, the Alps are not so far away from here so i was glad to find that some of them are familiar. Made me feel more at home on this page

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      wiedruce 6 years ago

      I love it..thanks for sharing!

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 6 years ago from USA

      Great lens - very informative, and the pics are adorable : )

    • profile image

      Jennifer_Glennon 6 years ago

      Very interesting.

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 6 years ago from Ohio

      Loved your pictures and information about this group of animals.Well done!

    • Surfer83 profile image

      Surfer83 6 years ago

      Really nice info and I p[personally love the Red Squirrel picture.

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      airblastparts 6 years ago

      Love it, will have to plan my trip there next year.

    • Atomika07 profile image

      Atomika07 6 years ago

      awwww, what a cute lens! thanks for sharing!

    • Beadsnresin profile image

      Beadsnresin 6 years ago

      cool lens, thanks heaps!

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      slippknot12 6 years ago

      great lens I love it!

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 6 years ago

      great information.....

    • najem lm profile image

      najem lm 6 years ago

      I love animals and I think you made really cute lens!

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      JeremyAce 6 years ago

      Seems every animal I read about had the endangered tag on it. Sad state of affairs. Excellent pictures though.

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 6 years ago

      great lens! thanks for teaching me a bit this morning :)

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 6 years ago

      some lovely country side

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 6 years ago

      We haven't visited Europe yet, but from the wonderful photos you have here, we can see we are in for a treat. Nice lens

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 6 years ago

      Interesting lens and great pics!!!

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      The lynx is absolutely beautiful! So enjoyed all of the animals!

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      Lindrus 6 years ago

      Thank you for a very interesting lens! I especially enjoyed the beautiful photos of the animals.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      I enjoyed seeing the animals on pic. Thanks for sharing.

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      FreelancinFran 6 years ago

      Love the pics of the animals. They all look so serene and inquisitive! My favorite was the Dormouse :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      @anonymous: I'd snuggle them all, but I don't know that any of them would like it much. :) Yes I've spent quite a bit of the Alps, but not seen all of these in the wild yet. And yes, I'm pretty sure the edible Dormouse is the one that the Romans ate, poor thing.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love the Ibex. Such a crazy guy! But the marmot! Gah!Too cute. I'd snuggle it if I knew it wouldn't scratch my face off for doing so. I hope to see the alps some day. Are the doormice the kind that the Romans ate? Have you been to the alps and seen each of these animals yourself?

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lynx looks gorgeous , I love it

    • Sasa3 profile image

      Sasa3 6 years ago

      I love your lens, and the videos you put in ^.^

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      I love animal planet...and I love this lens. Some gorgeous creatures here. Awesome.

    • coolgrey profile image

      coolgrey 6 years ago

      Glad I stopped by. You have a lovely site. Your choice of photos adds to the visual enjoyment of your lens. Cheers!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love animals. The lynx is absolutely beautiful. Nice lens, good idea.

    • modernchakra profile image

      modernchakra 6 years ago

      I love the Red Squirrel Picture!! Thank you for such a cool lens, I love wildlife. Take care.