American pika (Ochotona princeps).—Kenneth W. Fink/Root Resources

Any of numerous round-eared, tailless members (genus Ochotona, family Ochotonidae) of the rabbit order (Lagomorpha), found in Asia, eastern Europe, and parts of western North America. Though not hares, they are sometimes called mouse hares. The hind legs are less developed than a rabbit's; pikas scamper rather than bound. Their brownish or reddish fur is soft, long, and thick. Most pikas weigh between 4.5 and 7.1 oz. (125 and 200 g) and are about 6 in. (15 cm) long. Many species live in rocky, mountainous areas, but some Asian species inhabit burrows. Pikas do not hibernate, but in summer and autumn they “harvest” vegetation and store it in protected places (e.g., under rocks) to be eaten in winter.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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