Some alpine animals eat grass with many fibres (cellulose) and cannot digest them. Cellulose-degrading microorganisms, which live in their intestines, help them and so they can survive and don’t starve, such as the chamois (ruminants), the ibex or the ptarmigan (with its extra-long caecum).
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Fungus in the gut of chamois attaches to grass.
of alpine animals
Some alpine animals eat lignocellulosic – (fiber-) rich materials and harbour specific cellulosic microorganisms, such as anaerobic fungi (Neocallimastigomycota). This symbiosis is common in alpine ruminants like ibex and chamois, and in the ptarmigan with its extra-long intestines.
Institute of Microbiology (Insam), School of Education (Kapellari), Alpenzoo (Böhm)