The Pyrenees mountain range rises from sea to sea, in many cases inaccessible to the hand of man —or at least this pressure is reduced—, today, it continues to be a haven of peace for wild fauna. The tranquillity in which small mammals graze is something that we must preserve among all.
More precisely, under the protection of the Unesco’s Sobrarbe-Pyrenees geopark, species such as the Iberian Brown Bear, the Red Deer, the Fallow Deer, the Roe Deer, the Mouflon or the Chamois have found their refuge. Next, we will take a tour of the different species of wild fauna that inhabit these mountains.
Iberian Brown Bear
Today, the meager population of bears in the Pyrenees comprises almost fifty specimens, with the Aran Valley and the French side as the most loving areas for animals. Of them, up to four can be located in the western Pyrenees, straddling Navarre, Aragon and France, and one or two frequent the westernmost Pyrenees of Aragon (Alto Sobrarbe and Alta Ribagorza). From time to time, individuals can be seen in other places in the chain, especially in the early spring, back the month of May.
The Common Deer
It is the largest deer you will find in Europe. This herbivorous animal predominates in the Pyrenees. If you want to witness a fabulous show, travel at the beginning of autumn. During this period, you will hear the males’ songs looking for a mate during their mating season.
The Roe Deer
It is smaller than the common deer and the fallow deer and also easier to find as it lives in practically the entire Pyrenees. Its long and thin legs give this beautiful mammal a cute and funny appearance. It has no tail, and its fur varies from brown in summer to greyish in winter.
The chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is the most representative bovid of the Pyrenean fauna. Agile like no other, with a huge heart and disproportionate and with hooves super-adapted to climb the steepest slopes, it is the true king of the mountains.
The largest and most notable rodents will often accompany us on our Pyrenees excursions. Their refuges are usually relatively high up in the mountains, at about two thousand meters of altitude. You will recognize that you are near a groundhog because you will hear its characteristic whistles.
The mating season begins between March and April, and it will be just when the marmot population is most abundant for observation. Although also in summer it is common to see them sunbathing on the rocks or looking for food.
It is common to observe their tracks in flooded areas where they removed the earth and mud. It is not easy to see them since they frequent the most inaccessible forest areas.
They are large animals that weigh more than 80 kilos and feed on worms and roots. They have a habit of digging the earth to look for these delicacies. By rubbing their body against the trees after a refreshing mud bath, they leave their mark of mud and hair on the trunks. Now you know what tracks you can go after if you want to know if wild boars are nearby.
An aquatic animal par excellence, Otters have their burrows on the banks of rivers, usually in rock caves and tree roots. Their diet is based on fish and, to a lesser extent, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, especially crab rivers.
In fact, the presence of this small mammal is indicative of the high environmental quality of the habitat.