July 11 2024

The Wildlife in the Austrian Alps is among the richest in central Europe, especially during the summer months. From wild flower meadows and crystal clear mountain lakes to stunning alpine scenery and rare animals – the Austrian Alps are a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts. Whilst on your walk, make sure to keep eyes peeled for some of these locals!
Austrian Alps Cows just above the Ehrwalder Almbahn
Austrian Alps Cows just above the Ehrwalder Almbahn

Alpine Plants & Wildlife in the Austrian Alps

Europe is famed for its mountain ranges and the culture surrounding them. The Alps in particular attract around 120 million visitors every year who come to take in the landscape, traditions, wildlife. We’ve already looked at the history of the Alps and its climate, now it’s time to look at Alpine plants and animals. When exploring the Zugspitze Arena in the Austrian Alps, a still comparatively undiscovered area of the Austrian Alps, you have good chances to spot some of these Alpine animals and birds during your wanderings.

erhwald-austrian-alps

Plants and Vegetation

The Alps are home to many kinds of plants, many of them specific to the area. Full, colourful meadows are rich with wild flowers and dense forests in the lower regions are home to many species of deciduous trees.In the higher regions, evergreens like spruce, pine and fir trees thrive and when climbing higher still, at around 1700m/2000m alpine meadows, mosses, shrubs and unique flowers like the edelweiss are commonplace. In the highest plains intricate rock gardens nestle between moonscape boulder fields.Rarer species such as the lady slipper orchid can be found in the Alps and many flower species that can be found across the world have their own Alpine twist due the soil or affecting climate.

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Discover Austria's Wildlife

Animals specific to the Alps have had to evolve to adjust to the harsh Alpine climate it is thought that there’s at least 30,000 animal species including 80 types of mammals and 200 species of birds. Thicker coats, hibernation patterns and specific diets have all come about due to the high altitude and harsh winters. Here are a few of the species you can spot on your walks in the Zugspitz Arena.
Austria Alps Wildlife Charmois
Austria Alps Wildlife Charmois

The Chamois

Chamois are native to Europe and thrive in the rocky Alpine environment. They are somewhere between a mountain goat and antelope with a thick coat that changes from brown in summer to grey in winter. They are easily recognisable short, curved hos, white face with black markings and a black stripe along its backbone. Chamois are protected by law.
Austrian Alps Wildlife Ibex Colletts 2

The Ibex

Ibex are well suited to navigating steep rock faces and lives above the tree line. They can have long curved hos which made them a popular target for hunters in the early 19th century. They were brought to the point of extinction during this time but now there are tens of thousands of them in the Alps. In the winter months Ibex move to lower ground.

Austrian Alps Wildlife Ibex Colletts 2
sarah-barr-wildflowers-walks-picos-de-europa-133-3.jpg
sarah-barr-wildflowers-walks-picos-de-europa-133-3.jpg

Birds in the Austrian Alps

200 species of bird can be found in the Alps another 200 species again pass through in migration. Golden Eagles, Vultures, buzzards and hawks all patrol the skies.The golden eagle is a particular majestic sight. Often called the king of the air, these impressive birds have a wingspan of about two metres and can often be spotted circling above the mountain peaks in search for food.

Another great sight is the bearded vulture. In contrast to the golden eagle, this large bird is a pure scavenger and bone specialist. It feeds almost exclusively on bones. An old bearded vulture has a rusty colour, the young one a greyish plumage.
Austria Wildlife Marmot Coleltts

The Marmot

Marmots are the most well-associated rodents with the Alpine environment. This squirrel/guinea pig-like rodent can weigh up to 14 pounds measure more than 2 feet long at times. They emerge in spring after hibeating in the winter months.They live in family groups and are very territorial. The family territory is unlikely to change throughout their lifetime and their intricate burrow systems even include nurseries for young and waste elimination areas. They can be heard from long distances letting out short sharp squeaks that serve as a waing of predators or other dangers. They have look-outs in a very similar way to Meer cats.

Austria Wildlife Marmot Coleltts
Wildlife Austrian Alps Colletts
Wildlife Austrian Alps Colletts

The Red Squirrel

The Red Squirrel is a protected species in the Austrian Alps. Sadly, sightings aren’t as common but if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot them in the woodlands surrounding Ehrwald.Although generally recognisable by its reddish colouring, a Red Squirrel can also have black fur, and it has a pale underbelly.

Go Walking in the Austrian Alps

The Zugspitz arena in the Austrian Alps is still comparatively undiscovered by British walkers, making it a fantastic destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Join us on a flexible walking holiday and get up close to the wildlife of the Austrian Alps.

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