What Animals Live on Mount Everest?

Mount Everest carries so many deep secrets to it that even an entire life of humans is not enough to figure it out. One of them is the existence of life at 5,000 meters altitude and above in the world’s highest mountain.

When human craves for every breath at the height, there are animals who easily survive the acute weather like it’s nothing. Wild species rove on the snow as if it’s a soft pillow of fur while humans suffer frostbite and chronic mountain sickness even before base camp.

As the mountain gains elevation, the level of oxygen drops gradually causing a threat to every life. More animals suffer from hypoxia after Base Camp than anywhere else due to low oxygen. Cold and dry air at the mountain affects the animal’s respiratory system and even risks their survival.

But there are some animals who make mountains their dome and snow their blanket. These animals can adjust to the freezing atmosphere and still not get injured by the snow. These animals can live up to 16,000 feet and more but hardly comes to people’s attention.

But if you know where to look for the animals, there’s a good chance to come across one. If that still leaves you wondering what animals live on Mt. Everest then here is the detail of the wild species who have made the mountain a natural habitat.

What animals live on Mount Everest?

It’s really tough to live through the frozen cold atmosphere of Mount Everest. As the oxygen starts to decline from Namche, people begin to suffer from altitude sickness. But there are few animals who have challenged human capacity with their adaptability before base camp. Their fur-coated body, strong feet, and diet allow them to sustain even in the Himalayas. Some of the animals that don’t bother living in a sub-zero atmosphere are as follows.

1. Snow Leopard

What animals live on Mount Everest

Snow leopard otherwise known as an ounce is on the verge of extinction but luckily there are few of it in the Himalayas. It’s rare to sight these snowcats with just 6000 of the total remaining. Besides, they don’t show up when people are around, hiding after wild regions and deep snow.

Snow leopard in Everest was first found in the early 1960s by some local Sherpa inhabiting the village below Base Camp. Starting on the date, there are many instances when both visitors and natives have confirmed to encounter the animal.

Young snow leopards are large pet-size cats while the litters are sized up to 2.2 on average. To survive the cold weather and snow in the Himalayas, they have a thick coat of fur and a large paw to hunt in a pack.

2. Himalayan Black Bear

Himalayan Black-Bear

Given how few of them have been left on the planet, Himalayan Black Bears are uncommon and protected as well. They are insensitive to cold, sustaining in the Himalayas from 1,500 meters and above in tropical forests.

Their thick black fur serves as a warm quilt to prevent from the frigid climatic condition. During summer they migrate to warmer areas which improve their adapting capacity and make it strong.

The carnivorous diet of Himalayan Black Bear has them wandering around forests for prey and dry fruits including acorns, nuts, and honey. They get aggressive and savage if provoked otherwise Himalayan Black Bear doesn’t hurt people most of the time.

3. Himalayan Tahr

HImalayan Tahr

Another wild species that have adapted to the harsh climate of Mt. Everest for years is Himalayan Tahr. They are native to the Himalayas and can easily get away with the subzero temperature.

They come from a large ungulate with small-pointed ears and a small head. Unlike most members of a clade, Himalayan Tahr has backward-curved horns that can grow up to 18 inches long. They wear reddish wool hair with thick underfur to cope with freezing weather.

Male Tahr is generally large in size compared to female with about an average weight of 73kg and even more. They possess super flexible hoofs with sharp rims and a hard outer shell that provides traction while walking rocks and chinks. Himalayan Tahr feeds on grass, leaves, and even wild fruits found everywhere from 8,200 to 16,000 ft.

4. Himalayan Goral

Himalayan Goral

Himalayan Goral always manages to get a big smile on the face of every traveler who it runs into. While not many of them are not friendly in nature, the animal is no threat to humans either. Found everywhere in the Himalayas, Goral often forms a group between four and twelve for solitary.

The animals can be as long as 130 cm with the smallest one coming in 95 cm and weighing anywhere from 77 to 93 lbs. They usually sport gray or gray-brown fleece, pale brown legs, and sole thread-like lines along its spine.

Their horns are small and curved back with a maximal length of 18cm. They are really good at disguising oneself to stay away from the sight of humans. The wild beast keeps itself active in the morning and evening to feed on leaves and soft grasses.

Despite the lifespan of at most 15 years, Himalayan Goral has been disappearing in a great number due to a gradual increase in temperature. The animal has been already listed on IUCN Red List as a near-threatened species so it has to be preserved.

5. Red Panda

Red Panda

Who could have thought a cute little animal like Red Panda would be so tough to brave the cold atmosphere of Mount Everest. But that’s what it is, as the animal is indigenous to eastern Himalaya. Unlike giant pandas, they aren’t fat and plump with a rather lean body and long bushy tail.

The thick reddish-brown hair of red panda serves as an armor to prevent biting cold while the sharp teeth are for tearing bamboo and eating berries. They’re pretty good at climbing trees and taking a nap on the branch.

Red Panda is endemic to temperate forests and therefore found in a bountiful number on lower Himalayas. They are pro acrobats with nice flexibility to hop from one tree to another at a fast pace.

Climate change has been putting the life of Red Panda at risk for a long time now. So, if the problem isn’t addressed and resolved on time, the animal will actually disappear from the Everest region as well as the world.

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About Author

Mukti is is the founder and CEO of Himalayas on Foot. He started Himalayas on Foot in 2008 after working as a trekking porter, guide and then a sales manager for a decade.

He has done most of the treks in Nepal such as Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, Manaslu Circuit Trek, Poon Hill, Langtang Trek, Annapurna Circuit, etc. Apart from Nepal, he has also travelled to Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, France and USA.

Mukti was also secretary of Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN) for the year 2015-2017. TAAN is an umbrella association of trekking agencies in the Nepal.

He speaks fluent English, Japanese and Nepali.

Mukti is friendly and he is the one who answers most of your trip questions. So if you have any inquiry about our trip, don't be shy. Write to us.

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