Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several small, tailless, furry mammals of the genus Ochotona of the mountains of North America and Eurasia, resembling guinea pigs but belonging to the order of lagomorphs that includes the hares and rabbits. Also called coney1, rock rabbit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several small, furry mammals, similar to guinea pigs, of the family Ochotonidae, from the mountains of North America and Asia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of several species of tailless rodents of the genus Ochotona (formerly Lagomys), resembling small rabbits, but with short ears alnd legs. They inhabit the high mountains of Asia and America. Called also calling hare, and crying hare and rock rabbit. See chief hare.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small rodent quadruped of the genus Lagomys, family Lagomyidæ, belonging to the duplicidentate or lagomorphic series of the Rodentia, inhabiting alpine regions of the northern hemisphere.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. small short-eared burrowing mammal of rocky uplands of Asia and western North America

Etymologies

Evenki piika, perhaps from Russian pikat', to squeak.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • This occurs despite warnings from conservation scientists that the pika is a keystone species? meaning its removal would have far-reaching consequences including a scarcity of food for mammals and birds that feed on it.

    Biodiversity 100: actions for Asia

  • The argument that the pika is a pest, degrading rangeland and reducing food stocks for yak and sheep, is not supported by any evidence.

    Biodiversity 100: actions for Asia

  • In the controversial Lighting Up the Sky over Hiroshima (2009), Chim Pom created the Japanese word pika (sparkling light), seen in the sky from an aeroplane, reminding Hiroshima residents of the atomic bomb.

    Bangkokpost.com : Breaking News

  • The pika is also known as the "whistling hare" due to its high-pitched alarm call when diving into its burrow.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • The pika is a remnant of the glacial age in and has very narrow habitat range in the central mountains around Mt. Daisetsu.

    Hokkaido montane conifer forests

  • Found in California's Sierra Nevada range and the Rocky Mountains, the pika is a rabbit-like mammal that has been considered symbolic of the impact of global warming because it can overheat and die at temperatures above 78 degrees.

    EcoEarth.Info Environment RSS Newsfeed

  • At the time, the pika was the first non-Alaskan species to be considered for Endangered Species Act protection due to threats resulting from global warming.

    Global Warming RSS Newsfeed

  • Soon, if conservationists have their way, the pika could be the first species in the lower

    kstp.com - MORE NEWS

  • Soon, if conservationists have their way, the pika could be the first species in the lower 48 states to get federal endangered species protections primarily because of the effects of climate change.

    AOL News

  • "The pika is the fire alarm and this is our opportunity to come to grips with global warming and prevent an extinction crisis," Loarie said.

    WTOP / Business / Biz Stories

Comments

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  • See also Prolagus.

    March 31, 2008

  • They're definitely not hunters, and they spend most of their waking hours gathering plants and grasses for the winter (and also to line their nests, since they don't hibernate) but they are opportunistic feeders and will eat carrion if they find it and if the wolves don't get to it (or them) first.

    November 10, 2007

  • Wait! I thought they were vegetarians!

    Anyway... there are worse things to be than a really cute scavenger. I think. Maybe.

    November 9, 2007

  • Or if you do, try to kick around a bit.

    November 9, 2007

  • Wow! I had no idea that pikas would scavenge. I remember them bustling about and making hay. Skipvia, thanks (I think) for that information. Next time I'm in the mountains, I won't take a nap.

    November 9, 2007

  • Skipvia, I can finally say that I know someone who's photographed pika poop.

    Uh oh...this will probably need a name to go on chained_bear's excrement list.

    November 9, 2007

  • Nothing left but the hair and bones, and they were starting to gnaw the bones. They're not vicious--just surviving.

    November 9, 2007

  • Well, what cute creature *doesn't* strip a caribou carcass in pretty short order?

    *still a little stunned*

    November 9, 2007

  • Pika are undeniably adorable, c_b, but they are also ravenous and can strip a caribou carcass in pretty short order. I posted a few pictures of a caribou skeleton that we came across a couple of years ago on a backcountry trip. You can see the extent of pika droppings in many of the photos. I love watching them.

    Even their poop is cute...

    November 9, 2007

  • If you want to get cute-overloaded, go look on YouTube for some pika footage. They're adorable.

    November 9, 2007

  • bryulik: I love pika pika. Thanks.

    November 8, 2007

  • pika pika is the sound of sun for japanese

    November 8, 2007

  • Indeed! One opinion is that their name came from a Russian word meaning "to squeak!"

    July 23, 2007

  • eeeeep!

    July 23, 2007