Learn more about this adorable alpine animal…
and why it needs our help!
All about pikas
If you’ve spent time in Colorado’s high country, chances are good you’ve either heard or seen an American pika (Ochotona princeps ). Originally from the central Asian steppes, these potato-sized mammals migrated across the Bering Land Bridge and have been calling North America home for the past several million years. Nowadays, American pikas can be found throughout the Rocky Mountains between northern New Mexico and central British Columbia. Populations are also present in the Great Basin and from California’s Sierra Nevada north to the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington.
In Colorado, American pikas are often easiest to spot in talus – fields and slopes of broken rock – above treeline, or approximately 8,000’ in elevation. Keep your eyes open for grayish-brown critters with large ears and no tails in sight (more about that below). They’ll often be scurrying between the rocks or taking in the view from a particularly prominent perch. Even if you don’t spot one, you’ll likely hear them: they have a distinctive squeaky Eep! call that’s particularly loud for such a tiny animal!
Click on the arrows below for more pika facts!
An alpine rabbit relation
Pikas and climate change
Making a mountain living