- Pikas are small lagomorphs, weighing about 160 grams (5.6 ounces).
- Pikas have no apparent tail, and short, rounded ears.
- They have long, dense fur similar to that of rabbits and hares.
- In general, upperparts are brownish grey, peppered with black, and underparts are greyish white. However, there is considerable
color variation between individuals and populations.
- Pikas have a characteristic "bleating" call that is used to announce their presence on a territory. They also have an alarm
call that alerts members of the colony to danger.
- In Alberta, pikas are distributed in the Rocky Mountain natural region.
- Typical habitat is located at the sites of rock slides.
- Pikas live in loosely associated colonies where individuals defend small territories of talus (slopes made up of rock fragments)
against incursions by neighbors.
- Pikas eat a variety of plants on and near the rock slide.
- In late summer, they begin collecting large quantities of vegetation from the meadows and forest adjoining the rock slide.
- Each pika piles the vegetation in a "haystack" located within its territory in the shelter of the rock. The vegetation dries
and provides the pika with some of its winter food.
- The breeding season starts in April and continues into the summer.
- Litters of three to four young are born to each female about a month after mating. Two litters may be produced in a season.
- Young are precocial, being densely furred at birth.
The pika is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Updated: May 12, 2010