A lot of hikers like to know which mammals they might see while hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, because spotting wildlife is always an exciting moment. Whether it’s a majestic ibex on a mountain cliff, a fluffy marmot bathing in the sun or a red squirrel scurrying up a tree, a wildlife sighting always adds something magical to your hike. So, here’s a list of mammal species in our region, hopefully you’ll get to see some!
Ungulates (hoofed animals)
The most iconic mammals are the majestic Alpine ibex and agile chamois, but there are two other ungulates you might spot on the Tour du Mont Blanc: the massive red deer, and the much smaller roe deer.
· Alpine ibex – Capra ibex
· Chamois – Rupicapra rupicapra
· Red deer – Cervus elaphus
· Roe deer – Capreolus capreolus
Read more about ungulates here:
- Wildlife in the Alps: Spotlight on the Ibex
- Red deer rut: a true autumn wildlife spectacle
- Wildlife in the Alps: Spotlight on the Chamois
- What’s the difference between an Ibex and a Chamonis?
- Wildlife in the Alps Coping with Winter: Part 7 – Coping Strategies of Ibex, Chamois and Deer
Alpine marmots and red squirrels are both members of the squirrel family, but you’ll find them in very different habitats. While marmots live in alpine meadows, red squirrels live in forests.
· Alpine marmot – Marmota marmota
· Red squirrel – Sciurus vulgaris
Read more about alpine marmots here:
- Wildlife on the TMB – the alpine marmot
- Wildlife in the Alps coping with winter: Part 2 – Hibernation
Although various shades of brown in summer, mountain hares turn white for winter, giving them a perfect camouflage in our snowy mountains and making them incredibly difficult for predators (or hikers) to spot.
· Mountain hare – Lepus timidus
· Red fox – Vulpes vulpes
· Wild boar – Sus scrofa
· European badger – Meles meles
Members of the weasel family are quick and active predators with a long and slim body. The stoat is a particularly iconic species due its incredible change in colour over winter.
· Stoat – Mustela erminea
· Stone marten – Martes foina
· European pine marten – Martes martes
· Common weasel – Mustela nivalis
Hedgehogs, moles and shrews are all small insectivorous mammals that can be found in this region.
Moles live in underground tunnels, so you are not very likely to see one above ground. However, molehills (where moles have pushed earth from their tunnels to the surface) are clear signs of their presence.
Shrews are small insect eating mammals which look a bit like long-nosed mice, but they are closer related to moles and hedgehogs.
· European hedgehog – Erinaceus europaeus
· European mole – Talpa europaea
· Mediterranean water shrew – Neomys anomalus
· Eurasian water shrew – Neomys fodiens
· Alpine shrew – Sorex alpinus
· Common shrew – Sorex araneus
There are many small rodents around, like dormice, wood mice and voles. The cute looking dormice are mainly nocturnal and are known for their long hibernation. Voles look a bit like mice, but they are a quite different: they have short tails, small ears and small eyes.
· Garden dormouse – Eliomys quercinus
· Wood mouse – Apodemus sylvaticus
· Bank vole – Clethrionomys glareolus
· Common vole – Microtus arvalis
· Field vole – Microtus agrestis
· European snow vole – Microtus nivalis