Northern pika

Ochotona hyperborea

TAXONOMY

Ochotona hyperborea (Pallas, 1811), Chukotsk Peninsula, Russia. Seven subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Siberian pika.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A generalized ochotonid with no obvious external discriminating characteristics. Medium brown with orange to buffy under parts.

DISTRIBUTION

Largest distribution of any pika species; found across most of eastern Siberia to Sakhalin and Hokkaido islands.

HABITAT

A typical rock-dwelling pika, although throughout much of its range it also is known to inhabit tree-falls, stumps, and mossy banks.

BEHAVIOR

Adults live in pairs, although they rarely interact. FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages on grasses and other vegetable matter; constructs large haypiles for winter feeding.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Assumed monogamous. Most females initiate two litters per summer reproductive season, and most litters range in size from one to five young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Common. However, subspecies on Hokkaido Island, Japan (O. h. yesoensis), are locally considered to be endangered.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

On Hokkaido Island, it is an important animal for ecotourism. ♦

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