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Humans take courses to learn how to assess the risk of avalanches and how to deal with it. Additionally, they often use special gear to survive avalanches if they got caught in the middle of one.

What about animals that live in these areas like mountains with snow where avalanches occur (maybe wolves, deer, etc.)? Are they somehow aware of the risk? Do they handle it in any way (e.g. avoid especially steep regions) or able to manage getting out of it?

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It seems this is harder that what I thought... –  user3130 Mar 5 '13 at 6:05
I don't have a definitive answer for you so this is a comment but my gut feeling is that most animals would not encounter avalanches often enough for them to act as a selective force. I can't think of any animal that lives on steep snow covered slopes. There are mountain dwelling animals (mountain goats) but I don't think they spend a lot of time in snowy slopes, but not bc of the avalanche risk but bc it is hard to walk in deep snow. Note that humans encounter avalanches mostly when skiing, which is a pretty odd behavior as behaviors go. –  KennyPeanuts Mar 6 '13 at 3:33
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Most animals are not well adapted to deal with avalanches. For example, more mountain goats are killed by rock slides than by predators. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lewisandclark/record_species_150_11_2.html

Meanwhile, a mountain at risk of snow avalanche must be deep in snow, right? At that point, there is very little food to be found; it's all buried. So there won't be many animals on the surface. Most of them would leave for more hospitable locations, or hibernate.

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