Mar 15
This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change.  
American pika image

American pika (Ochotona princeps)

Species: American pika (Ochotona princeps)

Status: Least Concern (LC)

Interesting Fact: The American pika stores its own piles of ‘hay’ for the winter months.

The American pika is a small member of the rabbit family that inhabits alpine regions of south-western Canada and the western United States. This endearing mammal is well-adapted to cold climates, with short, dense fur and feet with densely furred soles. It feeds primarily on grasses and herbs, and, during the summer, the American pika collects and stores food in haypiles on rocks or in crevices. The food is stored for winter periods, when food is scarce and difficult to find. As a result of its haying behaviour, which modifies its habitat, the American pika is often called an ‘ecosystem engineer’.

Climate Change: The American pika is particularly vulnerable to climate change as it inhabits areas with cool, relatively moist climates in alpine regions. As temperatures rise, montane animals may seek higher altitudes in an attempt to find suitable habitat. The American pika, however, already occupies high altitudes, meaning it has little refuge from the pressures of climate change.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images and footage of the American pika on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

  • MAUCH (March 15th, 2012 at 7:54 pm):

    This is a wonderful creature that I fear climate change may drive to extinction along with countless other species. It’s time for those of us in the USA to stop dithering and face the challenge of saving the environment that our very survival depends on.

  • Jenae Anwar (March 17th, 2012 at 7:30 pm):

    Thanks folks for a very informative video. I fully agree with Ramesh about the value of your website.

  • Catherine H. (March 17th, 2012 at 10:26 pm):

    What a little cutie! I also very much agree with the comment above-climate change IS driving countless species into extinction. There are several types of Pika the world over–and their status is precarious at best. Educating the next generation is so critical. Humans have got to smarten up and realize that we too are vulnerable to extinction. Granted, the process of evolution has and always will be responsible for environmental and planetary changes. THAT is challenging enough for those who live in the wild. For how many wondrous creatures is it too late? and at the hand of man??