Fun Pika Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 13, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fun Pika Facts For Kids
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

The pika, a small-sized mammal found in Asia and Northern America can further be divided into two groups, American pikas (Ochotona princeps) that are found in the mountains of United States, New Mexico, and Western Canada, and the Collared pika of Northern British Colombia. Pikas are related to rabbits and hares and live in colonies by forming groups.

They belong to the family Ochotonidae and are of genus ochotona.

American pikas (Ochotona Princeps) are a small member of the order Lagomorpha. They are small mammals that scavenge for food in the summer, to supplement their diet during the winter months.

Pikas tend to live in higher altitudes, along rocky mountains, areas where they can hide from other predators.

With a rough lifespan of only seven years, they emit different types of calls during breeding season or to alert others of possible threats. A pika is not a rat and is related only to rabbits and hares.

If you are fascinated by pikas, then you may want to read the following amazing facts about them. If you want to learn more about different animals, you can read up on marsupials and the short beaked echidna.

Pika Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Pika?

The pika is a small mountain-dwelling animal, with close relations to rabbits, whose habitat includes the high rocky mountain regions of Asia and North America.

What class of animal does a Pika belong to?

The pika belongs to the mammal class of animals.

How many Pika are there in the world?

There are currently 30 recognized species of pika which comprise approximately one-third of all lagomorphs.

Where does a Pika live?

The pika, a small mammal of the Ochotonidae family, consisting of American pikas and collared pikas, tends to live in cold regions, mostly on rocky mountainsides, where there are numerous rocks or crevices, for them to take shelter.

What is a Pika's habitat?

The habitat of this species includes Asia, North America, parts of Eastern Europe, and mountains of Eurasia.

Who do Pika live with?

Pikas form groups or colonies divided into individual territory in the Rocky Mountain regions, to protect themselves in the winter. When American pikas sense any form of threat or predators approaching their group, they send out warning calls to alert the other members. However, they have also been known to show protective territorial behavior about their dens.

How long does a Pika live?

In the wild mountains, the average lifespan of a pika ranges from six to seven years. Their age can be determined through the number of adhesion lines, located on the bones of their lower jaws.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for pikas is April to July. Depending on the location in which they live, pikas may breed almost twice a year.

Their gestation period lasts for 30 days, after which female pikas give birth to a litter of two to five babies. Baby pikas have a fast growth rate and can reach adulthood close to the age of 3 months old. For the first 18 days, baby pikas are completely dependent on their mother.

What is their conservation status?

This species cannot withstand temperatures above 77.9 °F (25.5 °C)  and can only survive in cold winter temperatures. Both the American Pika and the Collared Pika are in the category of 'Least Concern' species by the International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Collared Pika is being listed as a 'special concern' species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Pika Fun Facts

What do Pikas look like?

Pika hiding between rocks

Pikas are small animals, with light brown or grey fur that live in high regions. They have short limbs and round bodies, with no tails, and look almost similar to their close relative rabbits. They have short rounded ears and long whiskers. Their entire body is covered with fur and they have no visible tail.

They belong to the order 'Lagomorpha'. Pikas are herbivores that stay active throughout the winter. They have two subspecies, namely the American pika and the collared pika.

How do they communicate?

Pikas communicate with each other through a variety of sounds and calls. During the mating season, they sing songs with each other, to attract the opposite sex. When there is any predator nearby, or they sense any form of threat, they emit high-pitched whistling calls to alert the other pikas living with them.

How big is a Pika?

Pikas are small animals, which can grow up to a length of 7.4 in (19 cm). Although, they share close relations with their neighbor 'rabbit', they are slightly smaller than them.

How fast can a Pika run?

Because of their small size, pikas are quick and elusive. They can run at a speed of almost  15 mph.

How much does a Pika weigh?

Depending on the species, pikas can weigh between 4 oz - 12.5 oz (120 g - 350 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no such separate name for male and female pikas. Males are called male pikas and females are called female pikas.

What would you call a baby Pika?

There is no specific name for a baby pika.

What do they eat?

Pikas are herbivore animals, related to rabbits. They live off grasses, flowers, fireweed, and sedges for their food.

They have been known to eat everything throughout the year, even when the winter is stone cold. They have gnawing incisors and no canines to help them chew on their food.

During the time of hibernation, the American pika is known to store huge caches of food, for which they can make up to 100 trips a day.

According to scientists, pikas generally pick those foods that are rich in protein, calories and fats. The largest recorded cache of food stored by a pika was 60 lb, which is quite unusual, given their body mass is barely a pound.

They are known to have a high metabolism rate, the reason why they store large amounts of food. They are extremely protective of their 'hay pile' of vegetation and exhibit a different form of social behavior to stop others from eating them.

Are they dangerous?

No, pikas are not at all dangerous. Because of their small size, they are more frequently hunted down by predators, than being the hunters themselves. They are known to be herbivores, depending on grass or other forms of vegetation for their food.

Would they make a good pet?

No, pikas are not suitable to be kept as a pet. Pikas live only in cold climates and high areas and may die if they get exposed to temperatures above  77.9 °F (25.5 °C ).

Regulation of temperatures at regular intervals is a must if one wishes to keep them as a pet. Also, one must not forget that they are wild animals who tend to reach their sexual maturity at very early years of age and may exhibit behaviors, which makes them impossible to be kept as pets.

Did you know...

The pika is considered to be the smallest family of rabbits. They do not hibernate like other animals and instead run throughout the summer collecting food, to eat in winter.

Another name for the American pika is the rock rabbit or the mouse hare, and the whistling hare, after their high-pitched 'meep' alarm call. Pikas are known to be indicator species for climate change.

Is Pikachu based on a Pika?

No, the Pikachu is not entirely based on the real-life animal, pika.

An average pika is  7.4 in (19 cm) in length, while the Pikachu is exactly one ft four in tall. The body of a pika is covered with soft fur, while that of Pikachu's is questionable.

Pikas can only live up to seven years and the lifespan of a Pikachu is yet unknown. Despite the difference in size, Pikachu can fit in a poke ball and can be carried around in one's pocket, but to keep a pika in a poke ball is not only immoral but also inhuman.

Pikachu is known to harness the power of electricity and attack its opponents, while pikas are only good at hiding.

The only way in which they share similarity is their cuteness. Both of them are extremely cute and adorable.

How to pronounce Pika

The word 'pika' is derived from the Siberian language, Tunguse, 'piika', which is pronounced as 'peeka'. The correct way to pronounce it differs from region to region. Canadians prefer to pronounce it as 'peeka', while the American pikas are pronounced as 'pike-a'.

How to draw a Pika?

The first step to draw a pika is to make two round shapes, representing the body and the face and a round line, representing the ear, on a piece of paper. Following this, draw a sloping line across the head, to help place the facial features.

Next, draw two short angular lines under the body, to form the legs.

After finishing with the outer sketch, move on to the facial features, by lightly sketching the eye inside the head by forming a small circle and two even smaller circles inside the eyes to represent the glare.

Following this, draw a small V-shaped line or the nose, with a couple of short lines inside it to show the bridge of the nose.

Add another line on the right side that curves up to the nose, to finish the shape of the mouth.

After finishing with the face, move on to the body, and use small strokes to represent fur. Then following the angular lines under the body, sketch the shape of the foot around it.

Draw one or two lines at the edge of the foot, to distinguish the individual toes. Repeat the same process, to draw the other leg, but one must remember that the other foot is longer in size than the front foot.

After completing up to this, erase any other extra line that might have been drawn which has been used as guides.

Redraw any line that might have got erased while erasing the guides. One must remain patient throughout the whole process because the ending is certain to bear fruits.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the field vole and the ringtail possum.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Pika coloring pages.

asia north america parts of eastern europe and mountains of eurasia.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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