Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

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  Lagomorpha · Ochotonidae · Ochotona princeps

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Ochotona princeps

American Pika

Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Ochotonidae

Click to see adaptations.   
Image of Ochotona princeps
Click to enlarge. (63 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

American Pikas scent-mark with their cheek glands, and also communicate with both long and short vocalizations. Short calls are uttered as alarms and to announce that they are departing or returning from foraging, and males perform a "song" during the breeding season. Males and females maintain individual, same-size territories, usually living next to an individual of the opposite sex. Pikas seem to spend much of the day sitting still, observing their surroundings. Females breed when they are a year old, and have a litter of three after a 30-day gestation period. The young are independent about a month after birth. Predators include coyotes, long-tailed weasels, martens, and ermine.

Also known as:
Rocky Mountain Pika, Southern Pika, Rock Rabbit, Piping Hare, Hay-maker, Mouse-hare, Whistling Hare, Cony

Sexual Dimorphism:

Range: 162-216 mm

Range: 121-176 g


Richardson, J., 1828.  Short characters of a few quadrupeds procured on Capt. Franklin’s late expedition, p. 520.  The Zoological Journal, 3:516-520.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account *
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Ochotona princeps

Image of Ochotona princeps
Click to enlarge. (82kb)

Skull of Ochotona princeps
Click to enlarge. (16kb)

Bones and Teeth
Ochotona princeps
Right upper premolar and first molar (right to left), with dentine stippled and enamel unshaded. Click to enlarge. (19kb)