A real animal. Also known as the cony, mouse hare, and rock rabbit.

Pikas belong to the family Ochotonidae. They resemble lemmings or voles, but as their various common names suggest, they're actually lagomorphs. Like pikachu, many are golden in color. Unlike pikachu, they do not have lightning bolt tails, electricity-storing cheeks, or fashionable striping along their backs. This makes them much more boring than pikachu, but also more tolerable.

There are two types of pika: rock and meadow. Rock-dwelling pikas are diurnal. They favor cold weather and high altitudes. They can be found scaling the mountains of California and roaming the vast Canadian Yukon and mountains of Tibet. They love stony terrain, and build nests on or under rocks instead of burrowing. Pika nests resemble little hay stacks. They chew off blades of grass, dry them in the sun, then store them for the winter. They are territorial, and communicate with each other via whistles.

Mating occurs in the summer, and litters of two to five infant pikas are born 30 days after conception. They are born furred, but don't go off on their own until three or four weeks old.

Meadow pikas are colonial and create burrows. They live on the Asian steppe. Their litters are larger than rocky pikas, numbering twenty at a go. They also have shorter lifespans, living two years to the rocky species' six. They are less well studied than the rocky species. As a matter of fact, most of what is known about pikas comes from only one species: Ochotona princeps, a mountain pika which is found in California.

Many of the pikas we do know a little about are endangered. They generally don't tolerate heat well, and it has been speculated that their decline might be due to global warming.

Pikas, like bunnies, eat their own shit.
...they need to because cellulose isn't very digestible.

Species:

  • Ochotona alpina (alpine pika)
  • Ochotona annectens
  • Ochotona brookei
  • Ochotona cansus (Gansu pika)
  • Ochotona collaris
  • Ochotona curzoniae (black-lipped pika)
  • Ochotona daurica
  • Ochotona erythrotis (Chinese red pika)
  • Ochotona forresti (Forrest's pika)
  • Ochotona gloveri
  • Ochotona himalayana (Himalayan pika)
  • Ochotona huangensis (Huanghe pika)
  • Ochotona hyperborea (northern pika)
  • Ochotona iliensis (Ili pika)
  • Ochotona koslowi (Kozlov's pika)
  • Ochotona ladacensis (Ladak pika)
  • Ochotona macrotis (large-eared pika)
  • Ochotona muliensis
  • Ochotona nubrica (Nubra pika)
  • Ochotona pallasi (Pallas's pika)
  • Ochotona princeps (American pika)
  • Ochotona pusilla (steppe pika)
  • Ochotona roylei (Royle's pika)
  • Ochotona rufescens (Afghan pika)
  • Ochotona rutila
  • Ochotona thibetana (Moupin pika)
  • Ochotona thomasi (Thomas's pika)

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?id=9975
Peterson Field Guides: Mammals by Burt and Grossenheider
http://www.worldwildlife.org/pikas/science.cfm

Pi"ka (?), n. Zool.

Any one of several species of rodents of the genus Lagomys, resembling small tailless rabbits. They inhabit the high mountains of Asia and America. Called also calling hare, and crying hare. See Chief hare.

 

© Webster 1913.

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