At home in rocky terrain: A viable habitat for animals and plants
As forbidding as it may appear at first glance, rocky natural terrain provides a viable habitat for many animals and plants. Fauna and flora have adapted perfectly to their natural surroundings.
Chamois, for example, are sprightly goat-antelopes who are in their element leaping around rocks and ravines at high altitudes above the tree line. It is these nimble creatures’ hooves, crafted specifically to cope with the smooth rock surfaces in the mountains, that reliably prevent them from taking a tumble. They can spread these hooves at will, and their soles akin to hard rubber additionally provide a solid grip that allows the animals to jump up to two metres high and across a distance of up to six metres, even in rocky terrain.
The gecko is a true acrobat who is able to find purchase on virtually any surface – be it suspended upside down or running up a sheer rock face. The mini lizards owe their remarkable grip to the so-called gecko effect: Tiny lamellae on their feet have millions of tiny hairs. These self-cleaning hairs produce a vast surface area – with an adhesive strength that could hold up to 140 kilogrammes when spread over all four feet!