The Tatra Mountains, Tatras, or Tatra, is a mountain range that forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. They are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatras are distinct from the Low Tatras (Slovak: Nízke Tatry), a separate Slovak mountain range further south.
The Tatra Mountains occupy an area of 785 square kilometres (303 sq mi), of which about 610 square kilometres (236 sq mi) (77.7%) lie within Slovakia and about 175 square kilometres (68 sq mi) (22.3%) within Poland. The highest peak, called Gerlach, at 2,655 m (8710 ft), is located north of Poprad, entirely in Slovakia. The highest point in Poland, Rysy, at 2,499 m (8200 ft), is located south of Zakopane, on the border with Slovakia.
The Tatras' length, measured from the eastern foothills of the Kobylí vrch (1109 m) to the southwestern foot of Ostrý vrch (1128 m), in a straight line, is 57 km (35 mi) (or 53 km (33 mi) according to some), and strictly along the main ridge, 80 km (50 mi). The range is only 19 km (12 mi) wide. The main ridge of the Tatras runs from the village of Huty at the western end to the village of Ždiar at the eastern end.
The Tatras are protected by law by the establishment of the Tatra National Park, Slovakia and the Tatra National Park, Poland, which are jointly entered in UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves.In 1992, UNESCO jointly designated the Polish and Slovak parks a transboundary biosphere reserve in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, under its Man and the Biosphere Programme.
The Tatra Mountains have a diverse variety of plant life. They are home to more than 1,000 species of vascular plants, about 450 mosses, 200 liverworts, 700 lichens, 900 fungi, and 70 slime moulds. There are five climatic-vegetation belts in the Tatras.
The Tatra Mountains are home to many species of animals: 54 tardigrades, 22 turbellarians, 100 rotifers, 22 copepods, 162 spiders, 81 molluscs, 43 mammals, 200 birds, 7 amphibians and 2 reptiles.
The most notable mammals are the Tatra chamois, marmot, snow vole, brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, red deer, roe deer, and wild boar. Notable fish include the brown trout and alpine bullhead.
The endemic arthropod species include a caddis fly, the spider Xysticus alpicola and a springtail.