NORTHERN PIKA – Ochotona hyperborea

NORTHERN PIKA

Northern pika facts: The northern pika, also known as the Siberian pika, is slightly larger than the American pika. It has a body length of 7 to 12 inches (17.5 to 30.0 centimeters) and weighs about 7 ounces (200 grams). Northern pikas have medium brown fur on their upper bodies and orange to cream fur on their undersides.

Geographic range: The northern pika has the largest distribution range of any pika species. It ranges from eastern Siberia to Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk and the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is found in eastern Russia, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and Manchuria in northern China.

Northern pika habitat: Northern pikas live in high grassy plains, coniferous forest, tundra, among rocky outcroppings and crevices, and in burrows under large stones on the land surface.

What does northern pika eat: Northern pikas are herbivores, meaning they eat mainly plants. Their diet consists mostly of grasses and herbs. Like other pikas, they build hay piles of grasses that they feed on during the harsh winters.

Behavior and reproduction: Northern pikas are generally very social and curious. They are believed to be monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), meaning a male and female pair for life. The pairs usually live in small colonies. Most females have two litters of babies during the summer, with each litter consisting of one to five babies.

Northern pikas do not survive in captivity. The subspecies Manehurian (Manchurian) pika dies within an hour after being caught by humans.

Northern pikas and people: Northern pikas have little economic importance to humans.

Conservation status: Northern pikas are not listed as threatened by the IUCN. However, the subspecies Ochotona hyperborea yesoensis found on Hokkaido Island is considered endangered by the Japanese government.