Sunday, October 30, 2011


The pika is a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. It is also known as the "whistling hare" due to its high-pitched alarm call when diving into its burrow. The name "pika" appears to be derived from the Tungus piika.


Pikas are native to cold climates, mostly in Asia, North America and parts of eastern Europe. Most species live on rocky mountain sides, where there are numerous crevices to shelter in, although some also construct crude burrows. A few burrowing species are instead native to open steppe land. In the mountains of Eurasia, pikas often share their burrows with snowfinches, which build their nests there.


Vegetation pile, drying on rocks for subsequent storage. Gad Valley, Snowbird Ski Resort, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

American pika with mouthful of dried grass. Sequoia National Park, CA
Pikas are diurnal or crepuscular, with higher altitude species generally being more active during the daytime. They show their peak activity before the winter season. Pikas do not hibernate, so they rely on collected hay for warm bedding and food. Pikas gather fresh grasses and lay them in stacks to dry. Once the grasses dry out, the pikas take this hay back to the burrows for storage. It is not uncommon for pikas to steal hay from others; the resulting disputes are usually exploited by neighboring predators like ferrets and large birds.
Eurasian pikas commonly live in family groups and share duties of gathering food and keeping watch. At least some species are territorial. North American pikas (O. princeps and O. collaris) are asocial, leading solitary lives outside the breeding season.

Pika photos

More than a Mouthful (pika-5857.jpg)
"More than a Mouthful by Larsthrows

More than a Mouthful Too! (pika_DSF5803.jpg)
"More than a Mouthful Too! by Larsthrows

Ochotona thibetana,Tibetan Pika, རྫ་བྲ་ rdza bra/bra ba,
"Ochotona thibetana,Tibetan Pika by reurinkjan

Pika - Stanley Glacier Trail
Pika - Stanley Glacier Trail by Jimbo1239

Pika by these are only words
Up Close and Personal with a Pika
Up Close and Personal with a Pika
Collared Pika at Denali National Park
Collared Pika at Denali National Park by Critter Seeker
Quintessential "cute" - The pika
Quintessential "cute" - The pika by oldmantravels
Adorable rock rabbit, the pika.
Adorable rock rabbit, the pika. by oldmantravels

Day 6 - Crews spot a Pika
Crews spot a Pika by WSDOT

Pika by Sandra Leidholdt

Pika near Medicine Lake
Pika near Medicine Lake by Patrick Berden

Pika by MikeManning

Tango Anyone??
Tango Anyone?? by Badgerdx

Pika by Colorado Sands

66217 Pika
Pika by wild prairie man

Pika by gainesp2003

Pika under a Blue Sky
Pika under a Blue Sky by Colorado Sands

A Sweet Little Pika
A Sweet Little Pika by Colorado Sands

Pikas videos

Fragment from BBC's Attenborough Explores Our Fragile World about Pikas. 

"A relative of the rabbit, the collared pika sounds much like a squeak toy when it calls out. Taken at Denali National Park in Alaska."

Images via Flickr
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