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Monday Reads: The Meet the Pika Edition


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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
08 February 2010, 3:00 AM
Getting to know pika, while we still can
Go, little pika! Go! We're cheering for you. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimon / CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s been a tough few days for the American Pika, who were shut out of the endangered species list, no thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These alpine rabbit cousins (don’t let those mousey ears fool you) are adapted to live in cold climates and can overheat at even a mild 78°F. Rising temperatures have pushed pikas farther and farther up their mountainous habitat—and if things don’t change, soon there will be nowhere else for them to go but extinct.

Pika aren’t just any small fuzzball. The character and antics of this scrappy flower-gathering herbivore have endeared them to scientists, hikers, and Monday Reads writers alike.

For the most part, pikas are hard working little bunnies. (Slacker pika do exist; more on that later.) Although they weigh only a third of a pound, they must collect more than 60 pounds of vegetation to survive the winter. Pikas don’t hibernate, instead hunkering down by their “haypiles” and munching on the stores through the snowy months. How come the food doesn’t spoil, you ask? The venerable David Attenborough brings us these teeny mammals in action, and tells us why:

Interestingly, researchers have observed certain saucy individuals who figure harvesting your own food is just plain too much work. They nonchalantly loiter around other pikas’ haypiles—and then help themselves once the owner has stepped out. We think you can imagine what happens when the indignant pileowner catches the thief red-pawed.

In this warming world, pika are ironically freezing to death: snowpacks that normally insulate them during the winter months are thinning, exposing the animals to deathly cold extremes. Although the pikan future may seem dim now, it's not over yet. Stay tuned to Earthjustice for the next round in the battle for the pika.

 

More Reads:

Is American Pika a rabbit or a rat?
I believe they can survive the winter because they are as small as a Rolex watch. They don't need to worried about the temperature lose.

Thanks to share with us such a useful information. I am going to share this information with my other friends. internet marketing company

munching on the stores through the snowy months. How come the food mac makeup doesn’t spoil, you ask? The venerable David the north face outlet Attenborough brings us these teeny mammals in action, and tells us why:

what a cool article on pika, they look absolutely adorable. party planning checklist

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading
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If it is long term, then things will be a lot more complicated. It is that simple. darts

What is pika? I didn't know this word until today...
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awww, those are so cute. How could they not protect these animals.
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