Carefully observe life in the Alps above the forest line. A couple of chamois pry from the rock. In the summer, these highly skilled climbers keep close to the open rocky slopes high in the mountains above the forest line, while in the winter they descend towards the lowlands. We can see the alpine marmot below them. This representative of the squirrel family became extinct in our country at the end of the Ice Age. In the second half of the 20th century, it was reintroduced to the Slovenian Alps from Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The zone of dwarf pine and larch forests is inhabited by the black grouse. In early spring, males pay court to females with a dance display, during which they show off their unfamiliar tails, coo, blow and hiss, while the unobtrusively coloured females watch them from the side.

Now try to find a bird that is perfectly adapted to long winters with the landscape covered in snow. This is the ptarmigan. During the winter, both sexes have white feathers. Only some of their tail feathers are black. They display a red fold of skin above their eyes – a comb. In the summer, they become darker, with only the wings and belly retaining some whiteness. The male is distinguished from the female by a dark line running from the beak over the eyes.

Little water, low temperatures, strong winds, and UV radiation, short summers …

Plants are additionally pestered by heavy ultraviolet radiation, strong winds, lack of water and shallow soil with rare nutrients. They confront these challenging living conditions with intense colours of their flowers, dwarf and cushion-like growth as well as fleshy or hairy leaves.

The black colour of the common European viper, too, is an adaptation to short summers, long winters and low temperatures, for it absorbs more heat.

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