Ochotona princeps



Small, brown, and fuzzy, pikas are a relative of the rabbit. They have short, round ears and short limbs. They are about 15 to 23 centimetres in length and weigh 120 to 350 grams.

Range & Habitat

Pikas are found in mid- to high-elevation areas in large rock piles at the base of open cliffs. They range from California in the south to south-central B.C. in the north.

Diet & Behaviour

These furry creatures eat any vegetation available to them in their alpine home, even at times toxic ones. To survive the long cold winter, pikas collect many plants in the summer in their rock pile homes which they eat after the first snow has fallen. Each pika has a burrow independent of each other and defends their territory aggressively.

Lifecycle & Threats

During mating season pikas become more friendly with each other. Female pikas have two litters a year ranging from two to four offspring each time. After three to four weeks the young are weaned and are literally kicked out of their mothers home to find their own territory. Pikas have keen senses to detect predators such as weasels, coyotes, or raptors that like to pick up a pika for lunch. Pikas are one of the first mammals to be threatened by global climate change; as the temperatures rise most cold climate animals will move north, but the pika cannot due to its fragmented habitat in mountain ranges.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

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Photo: madlyinlovewithlife