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Other mammals in the Park

A fox surprised in the middle of a field (PNAM archive).

There is a rich biodiversity of other mammals in the Park, too: apart from 6 species of ungulates and 20 species of bats there are another 30 species of land mammals in the protected area. Let's have a look at some of them.

The Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the commonest carnivorous predator, and thanks to its adaptability is found in every environment. It usually moves at dawn, dusk or at night, but it is also possible to spot a fox in broad daylight in the higher pastures hunting marmot, small rodents or looking for birds' eggs.

The mountain hare (Lepus timidus), is a typically alpine species, a beautiful rodent that inhabits subalpine meadows and clumps of rhododendron and bilberries. This hare changes its coat from an ochre-grey in summer to pure white in winter, maintaining perfect camouflage throughout the year.

The red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and edible dormouse (Glis glis), on the other hand, are two rodents that are relatively easy to spot in the woods lower in the valleys.

The Park also hosts 5 insect eaters, commonly thought of as mice, but which are really quite different, these are shrews. Some live in woods and fields (such as Sorex araneus), others live in wetlands or in water (Neomys sp.). They are particularly shy animals and difficult to study, in fact most of the rare sightings are of dead animals found on paths, often after storms. Particularly rare is the alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus), which is found in Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta and very few other places.

There are two more well-known insect eaters that are much more common, especially lower in the valleys, these are: the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) and the mole (Talpa europaea).


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