Pikas are small mammals, with short limbs and rounded ears. They are about 6-9 in. in body length and related to the rabbit. The Pika is also known as the “whistling hare” due to its high-pitched alarm call. Pikas are native to cold climates, high altitudes and love to soak up the sun. I always see them on the rocky slopes while hiking Lake O’Hara, Lake Oesa and Lake McArthur.
They show their peak activity before the winter season. Pikas do not hibernate, so they rely on collected hay for warm bedding and food. Pikas gather fresh grasses and lay them in stacks to dry. Once the grasses dry out, the pikas take this hay back to the burrows for storage. It is not uncommon for pikas to steal hay from others, like maybe birds nests. Sounds like a Jesse James farmer! Our Rocky Mountain pikas are asocial “avoidant of society” leading solitary lives outside the breeding season. The Pika is found in the mountain regions at the Alpine tundra of western Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, where it is often restricted to the slopes of mountains. Distinct populations are separated by mountain valleys.