An independent guide to Val Thorens
Alpine animals and birds include mountain hares, marmots, and snow finches.
The mountain hare is found in the Alps, as well as other parts of Europe. Its distinctive tracks are often seen in the snow in winter. Smaller than the brown hare, with shorter ears, one of its characteristics is a colour-change, from brown-grey in the summer to white in winter.
Read about mountain hares.
Marmots (marmottes, in French) are perhaps the most characteristic and appreciated Alpine animals. Living between 1,000 and 2,500m altitude, they spend the warmer months eating vegetation, to build up reserves for their winter hibernation in burrows.
Read about marmots.
Crag martins come to the Alps in summer to breed, even at quite high altitudes (for example, Val Thorens at 2,300m). They return to Spain, other parts of southern Europe, or north Africa in the winter.
Read about crag martins.
Pied wagtails are seen in spring and summer in the Alps, even at quite high altitudes. They head south to warmer climes in the winter.
Read about pied wagtails.
Redstarts are very common in summer in the Alps.
Read about redstarts.
Snow finches are amongst the most attractive of Alpine birds, familiar to skiers who frequent mountain restaurants. In French, they are called niverolles. They are not true finches, but actually members of the sparrow family.
Snow finches are usually found between 2,000 and 3,000m altitude, in the Alps, in other mountain ranges in Europe and Turkey, and in the Himalayas.
Read about snow finches.
Sparrows live in the Alps throughout the year, including in Val Thorens, where they shelter in the eaves of buildings, and congregate in small fir trees.
Read about sparrows.
Water pipits breed in the Alps in summer, before descending to lowland marshes and ponds in winter.
Read about water pipits.
Butterflies and other insects live in the Alps, overwintering when it's cold and snowy, and emerging to enjoy the Alpine meadows in spring and summer.
Read about butterflies & other insects in the Alps.
Marmots are perhaps the most characteristic and appreciated of Alpine animals.
There are many beautiful animals and birds living in the Alps.
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