Pyrenees: flora + fauna

The Pyrenees are a great place to hike but as they are comparatively underdeveloped, there are still places where the flora and fauna can live in comparative calm. Having said that…

Canelle, the last remaining female brown bear of the Pyrenees was killed by a hunter on the 1st of November 2004 – she was with her cub at the time. Others brown bears are being introduced from Slovenia but the long term future of the Pyrenean bears looks doubtful.
Marmot in Pyrenees
Marmots were wiped out from the Pyrenees during the Pleistocene period, around 11,000 years ago. They were reintroduced in 1948 but with greater success in 1969. These furry doormats on legs are a fairly common sight in the Pyrenees. Listen out for their warning whistle which will help you locate them.
French Lizard
Lizards are poikilothermic which means they need the heat from the sun to maintain their body warmth. Luckily this one has studied biology and is sitting on a warm rock, enjoying the autumn sunshine. I have a webpage on lizards if you like that sort of thing.
Milka Cow
Watch out for this cow. She is all cute smiles when you take her picture but then pesters you for baksheesh all day. Being painted purple probably damaged her psychologically.
Heart in forest
Is this a quirk of nature or were the foresters in a romantic mood twenty years ago?
Blue flowers in Pyrenees
Springtime is a wonderful time of year to visit the Pyrenees. There is still plenty of snow in the mountains but it is often warm enough to wear shorts – and to admire some very beautiful flowers. In this case, blue ones.
The tasty brebis cheese is produced from ewe’s milk. While hiking in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border, I saw a shepherd complete with crook in one hand – and a mobile phone in the other.
A slowworm. Not a snake, but a lizard that has no legs (just to annoy Martin).
A slowworm. Not a snake, but a lizard that has no legs (just to annoy Martin).
Sheep at Col D'Aubisque
This North-facing cliff is the reason that the Col d’Aubisque is closed from November until May. Snow builds up on the road and under pressure forms a big chunk of ice, blocking the road for months when all the other roads are snow free. This is a frequent route for the Tour de France – did Bradley Wiggins have a problem with those sheep…
Pic de Midi Ossau
Perhaps more clearly visible on the larger picture (click on any image to enlarge it – click again and it will get even bigger). A very large fish lives in Spain and sometimes you are able to see him as he pops up to eat an insect (or perhaps a hunter) or two.
Pyrenean cow
Yes, I know I look cute and no, you can’t have my horns to use as coat hooks.
Flowers in Pyrenees
More very beautiful flowers. In this case, yellow ones. Just in case you are seriously into flora of the Pyrenees, you should visit Pierre Lacour’s excellent website.
Wild animal
This wild animal was spotted not far from Lac D’Isabe. The world’s top taxonomists are studying the creature to find its closest known relative.

More of the Pyrenees?

Breche de Roland

Flora and Fauna


2 day hike in Pyrenees

chemin de la mâture

Gorges de Kakouetta

Lescun in Summer

Or other things French?

Parce Que Je T’aime (a novel)

Cycling to Gavarnie

Cycling South West coast of France

Cycling Western Pyrenees

Cycling to Tourmalet

Food in France

An optimistic view of France


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