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American Pika

One of my favorite little critters is the American Pika (sp. Ochotona princeps). These small yet robust, hard working, unbearably cute little fur balls have fascinated me for years. Unfortunately, they are not found in my region of the country so when I found myself in the high mountains of Colorado, I just HAD to go to looking for them. Typically, American Pika make their home at elevations above tree line. Where’s that? In this case, it was between 11,000 and 12,000 feet!

It was mighty cold and very blustery the day I sat with the pikas. Winds gusted to over 50 mph which was more than enough to blow me over. A pre-winter sleet storm was approaching. I was thrilled to be able to sit out there with them as they rushed from rock to rock among the talus, gnawing and collecting plant material and tundra moss for their winter cache. When the sleet storm blew up, it made me all the more aware of the harshness of the conditions in which these tiny little critters find themselves at home. They are truly amazing and crazily cute!!

So, I hope you will enjoy this little video I shot while sitting with the pikas that day. Be sure to have your speakers on as you’ll be able to hear them bark to each other from time to time. (In case you were wondering, I shot this video using telephoto lenses on a dslr so as not to disturb or interrupt their activity.)

Also, if you’d like to learn more about how the increase in global temperatures is affecting these critters specifically, visit the Pikas in Peril Research Project‘s website.

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