Grey dzo yak in Tengboche, Himalaya, Nepal

What animals will I see on the Everest Base Camp trek?

Nov 22, 2022
Reading time: 6 minutes

From yaks to black bears, tahrs and blood pheasants, there are plenty of wild and domesticated animals as well as beautiful birds to see along the Everest Base Camp trek route. Here are some pictures and descriptions of what to look out for on your trek!

Wild animals

We encourage you to keep your eyes open for wildlife during your Everest Base Camp trek. There are lots of animals to see, from large deer and even wolves to deer, tahrs and also smaller creatures like martens and red pandas. Some will be a tall order to see, while others are pretty much a guarantee.

Here are some of the wild animals to look for ...

Himalayan black bear

Himalayan black bears have a white blaze across their chests, as you can just see in the picture of the cub below. Males can weigh as much as 250 kg, while females don't usually top 170 kg.

Himalayan black bear cub by a tree

A Himalayan black bear cub

In summer, Himalayan black bears can sometimes be spotted in the forests along the EBC trek route. Should you spot one, do as your trek guide advises, as they're far from being cuddly teddies.

Snow leopard (or ounce)

We have to include the endangered snow leopard in a discussion of Everest Base Camp trek animals, yet the likelihood of you actually seeing one is slim. Very slim. Not only is this creature solitary and mostly active at dawn, but it's spotted coat provides fantastic camouflage.

snow leopard

Look at how long that tail is!

If you actually manage to spot a snow leopard on your trek – please be sure to tell us all about so that we can live vicariously through you!

Himalayan wolf

Himalayan wolves live in the mountains of Nepal and India and are an endangered species.

Himalayan wolf lying on the ground

A seated Himalayan wolf

Himalayan wolves have adapted to a low-oxygen environment, living above 4,000 m in elevation. You're unlikely to see one on your Everest Base Camp trek, but a person can dream!

Bharal (or Himalayan blue sheep)

Blue sheep are relatively common sightings along the lower section of the Everest Base Camp trek. They're a type of goat-antelope, and are a major source of food for the snow leopard.

Portrait of male bharal blue sheep

The male bharal has long, curved horns

Look for herds of blue sheep feeding or resting on grassy slopes.

Female bharal (blue sheep) in snowy landscape

The female bharal has short, straight horns

 

 

Himalayan tahr

The Himalayan tahr is a wild mountain goat that's commonly spotted by trekkers on the EBC trek, so be on the lookout!

Himalayan tahrs in front of Ama Dablam on EBC trek, Nepal

Himalayan tahrs in front of the iconic Ama Dablam mountain

Look for tahrs on outcrops of rock and precipitous cliffs.

Himalayan musk deer

Also known as the white-bellied musk deer, the Himalayan musk deer is sadly an endangered species. One reason for its endangerment is that males produce a waxy substance called musk that's used to make some perfumes and medicines.

Grey musk deer in Himalayan pine forest at 3,500 m in Nepal

Himalayan musk deer in a pine forest

The musk deer has a pair of long canines that never stop growing, giving it an unusual look among deers.

Yellow-throated marten

Martens are a cute, stinky, long-tailed creature native to Asia.

Yellow-throated marten

Sometimes martens climb trees

The yellow-throated marten is wonderfully distinct with its brightly-coloured throat, upper forelegs and upper torso. It's a strong animal with few natural predators and so doesn't scare easily; consequently there's a good chance you could see one on your trek!

Other species

Finally, what are some of the other animals that can be seen along the Everest Base Camp trek route?

Asiatic wild dog or dhole

An Asiatic wild dog

Here are some of the other creatures to look out for:

  • Asiatic wild dog (or dhole) – a beautiful reddish-brown wild dog that lives in large clans
  • Himalayan serow (or thar) – a large, goat-like animal with short horns that's unlike any other
  • Altai weasel (or pale weasel) – these adorable carnivores are no longer than a 30 cm ruler
  • Himalayan marmot – they live in large groups and the sentry stands on its hind legs for a better view of danger
  • Mouse-hare (or pika) – look for these pretty round mice scurrying between rocks on the trail
  • Red panda (or lesser panda) – has a thick reddish-brown fur and a black belly and legs
Red panda, ilurus fulgens

A red panda

Domesticated animals

You'll see lots of domesticated animals along the Everest Base Camp trek. In towns and villages there cats and dogs, as well as farm animals like horses, donkeys, cattle and sheep.

Donkeys walking through village portering goods on the EBC trek in Nepal

Hardworking donkeys on the EBC trail

But there are also – more excitingly – plenty of yaks and yattle to be seen on the EBC trek ...

Yaks

The yak is a large, long-haired, ox-like mammal that lives at around 4,000 to 6,000 metres above sea level.

Yak in the Himalayas among lush vegetation

A beautiful yak

Yaks are a staple of the Everest region, and the poster child of the Everest Base Camp trek! Locals use them for transporting goods, especially as there are no roads in the region.

In fact, Everest Base Camp trekkers are using the 'highway' that links the town of Lukla and Everest Base Camp. So passing yak caravans and grazing yaks is part of the course. And we wouldn't have it any other way!

It wouldn't be the EBC trek if there wasn't the gentle jangle of yak bells!

Yattle

Yattle are cattle-yak hybrids. They're smaller than pure yaks but larger than cattle, and their fur isn't as long and thick as that of pure yaks. Yattle cope better at high altitude than regular cattle because of their yak genetics. So they're good options for use in the Everest region.

Caravan of dzo yak in the Nepal Himalaya

A caravan of yattle

Yattle are a bit easier to manage than pure yaks, and so are often used for portering goods. You'll see them in town as well as on the trail. Male yattle are called dzo, and females dzomo or zhom. Though often the word dzo is used as a catchall for all yattle.

Please always give yaks and yattle right of way, especially on narrow paths and bridges. Don't tussle with one and become a punchline!

Birds

All of the Everest Base Camp trek (minus the first day of trekking) takes place within Sagarmatha National Park. And we know that the park is home to 118 species of birds – an impressive number. So be sure to bring your binoculars if you're a birder as there’ll be plenty of exciting spotting to do! 

Himalayan monals Nepal

A male Himalayan monal doing his best to attract a mate

Some of the particularly exciting birds to look for are on the Everest Base Camp trek are:

  • Spiny babbler – Nepal's only endemic species
  • White-capped river chat (or white-capped redstart) – look for them by rivers
  • Himalayan monal – the colours of the male are sublime 😍
  • Black-capped sibia – listen for its prattle in the forest
  • Bearded vulture – it has distinctively long, narrow wings
  • Eurasian hoopoe – what a distinctive bird (see below)
Eurasian hoopoe perched on a branch

A Eurasian hoopoe

Finally, three especially exciting pheasants to look for are:

  • Himalayan monal (or Impeyan pheasant)
  • Snow cocks
  • Blood pheasant (or blood partridge) – what a pretty bird!
Blood pheasant

A beautiful blood pheasant

If you'd like a comprehensive list – that's full of pictures! – of birds to look for in Sagarmatha National Park, you can download this free government guide.

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