Alpine biomes are found on the great mountain ranges around the world including the Andes, Alps and Rocky Mountains. Alpine biomes are usually at an altitude of around 10,000 feet high or more and lie just below the snow lines of mountains. The general climate of an Alpine biome is very cold, icy, snowy and windy.
During the summertime, temperatures in Alpine biomes reach around 40 to 60 degrees fahrenheit, however, come winter, temperatures are well below freezing and as the altitude increases, it can get much colder.
Alpine temperatures are dynamic and can change from warm to cold in one day. Winter seasons last from October to May and summer from June to September. The average rainfall on an Alpine biome is around 12 inches per year. The Latin word for ‘Alpine’ is ‘Alps’ meaning ‘high mountain’, this is where the word comes from. Alpine and Arctic biomes cover around 16% of the earth’s surface.
Animals that live in the Alpine Biome
Animals that live in the Alpine regions have to adapt to two different problems. Firstly, the very cold temperature and secondly ultraviolet wavelengths from the sun. Because the Alpine biome is very high, there is less atmosphere to filter the sun’s UV rays. Alpine animals hibernate and migrate to warmer areas of the mountains when temperatures become extremely cold. Some animals insulate their bodies with extra layers of fat and fur. There are only warm blooded animals in the Alpine biome and some species of insects.
Alpine animals are naturally aided to adapt to Alpine climates by having shorter limbs such as legs, ears and tails. This helps to reduce heat loss. Alpine animals also have larger lung capacities, more blood cells and haemoglobin because of the increase of pressure and lack of oxygen at higher altitudes.
Despite the challenging landscape and harsh climate, here is a list of animals and birds that live in the Alpine Biome. These animals and birds are featured in our World Wildlife section.
Country/Continent: Chickaree North America Chinchilla South America Elk North America/East Asia Ibex North Africa/East Africa/Eurasia Kea Parrot New Zealand Markhor Asia Mountain Goat North America Snow Leopard Central Asia Snowshoe Hare Alaska/Canada/North America
Other animals living high in the mountains are: alpine versions of geckos and skunks, spiders, dragonflies, cockroaches, wētā, grasshoppers, cicadas, flies, moths, flatworms and giant snail.