Northern pika

A sneaky animal as the males will steal hay collected by other pikas in their territories!

Юрий Емельянов

Northern pika


A sneaky animal as the males will steal hay collected by other pikas in their territories!


During the summer months, the pika sports a reddish-brown hue, blending seamlessly with the landscape, while in the winter, its fur transitions to a more subdued greyish-brown tone to provide camouflage against the snowy terrain. Beneath its coat, the pika’s underside boasts a reddish-white coloration, adding to its aesthetic appeal.

Notably, the Northern pika undergoes molting twice a year, shedding its old coat to make way for the new, ensuring optimal insulation and protection against the elements. This process is vital for the pika’s survival in the harsh mountainous habitats it calls home.

Despite its small size, the Northern pika exhibits a resourceful foraging behavior, diligently gathering food to sustain itself throughout the year. Using its keen senses, the pika scours its surroundings for nutrient-rich vegetation, carefully selecting and harvesting plants to supplement its diet. Remarkably, the pika demonstrates cautious behavior while foraging, remaining vigilant for potential threats and retreating to the safety of its burrow at the slightest sign of danger.

The pika’s burrow serves as a central hub for its daily activities, providing shelter and security in the rugged terrain. Strategically located near feeding grounds, the burrow serves as a retreat where the pika can seek refuge from predators and adverse weather conditions. This behavior highlights the pika’s instinctual understanding of its environment and its ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

In preparation for the harsh winter months, the Northern pika exhibits a remarkable behavior of hay-piling. This process involves the collection and storage of dried grasses in exposed locations, where they are left to cure in the sun. By stockpiling hay in this manner, the pika ensures a readily available food source during periods of scarcity when fresh vegetation is scarce under the blanket of snow.


Population est.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No