Alpine Fauna & Flora

ALPINE FAUNA & FLORA

The distribution of indigenous fauna species throughout Mount Hotham Alpine Resort is largely related to the distribution of native vegetation. Vegetation provided foraging opportunities, shelter and breeding site. Vegetation type is also a useful indicator of other factors like topography, soil type and temperature that can also influence where a species lives.

MAMMALS
The Common Wombat, Mountain Brushtail, Common Ringtail and Eastern Pigmy Possums; Grey Kangaroos and Swamp Wallaby’s are present in the snowgum habitats. Dusky and Agile Antechinus as well as Bush Rats can be found to higher elevations and the Spotted Tail Quoll was once recorded in 1980. Mammals inhabiting areas with persistent snow cover can be classed into two groups; those that hibernate over winter months and those that remain active.

BIRDS
Birds are a conspicuous component of the fauna at Mount Hotham. Several are common at the higher areas, at least on a seasonal basis; and include the Flame Robin, Australasian Pipit and Little Raven. Others include the Crimson Rosella, Kookaburra, Superb Lyrebird, Southern Boobook and Currawong.

REPTILES AND INVERTEBRATES
Cold climates impose thermal restrictions on reptiles. Three families of reptiles occur in the Australian alps; dragons, skinks and snakes.The most well known invertebrate species within the Resort is the Bogong Moth. The Bogong Moth migrates to the Victorian Alps and Snowly Mountains in spring from the inland plains of eastern Australia, to aestivate in rock crevices and periglacial block streams. It forms an important protein source for many alpine fauna. 

THREATENED SPECIES
Three nationally listed fauna species exist at Mount Hotham; the Mountain Pygmy Possum, Alpine She-Oak Skink and Alpine Tree Frog.The Mountain Pygmy Possum is Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. Three populations occur in the alpine and subalpine regions of periglacial rock scree and boulder fields.Alpine She-Oak Skinks prefer grassy and low heath habitats between 1400 and 2100m without a high degree of Snow Gum canopy cover like Mt Hotham and Higginbotham summits and Loch Ridge. Within the Resort they have been found in tussock grasslands and alpine heaths, basking on grass tussocks.The Alpine Tree Frog has been recorded in numerous water bodies at Mt Hotham. The preferred breeding habitat has been identifies as permanent or near permanent water bodies. Non-breeding habitat may include Sub-alpine Woodland, Wet Tussock Grassland and Bogs. 

Almost 300 indigenous species of plants have been recorded in treeless area of Victoria, grasses, sedges and daisies are the most widespread.

A total of 106 flora species of state significance within the Resort were listed in the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas. The Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens community occurs within the resort and is listed under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act as endangered. Four Floristic communities occurring within the resort are listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act; the Alpine Bog community, Alpine Snowpatch community, Caltha introloba Herbland community and Fen (Bog pool) community.Field guided are available for purchase from the Resort Management office.