Pikas

PikaPikas are also called rock rabbits, coney and little chief hares. It name is derived for the Siberian work puka. Pikas probably crossed the Bering land bridge. They are stocky, have short legs and are almost tailless. Pikas have fur-covered feet, but bare toe pads. Their sharp, curved claws help them climb from rock to rock.

Pikas form colonies in mountainous terrain, living in old rockslides, talus slopes or around large boulders, usually with a meadow of vegetation in the vicinity. Normally, they are found at high elevations. The presence of their hay piles will positively identify the colony. Pikas are diurnal, being most active during the morning and late afternoon.

Pikas breed in May and may produce two litters a season. They are born blind and hairless after 30 days in litters from 2 – 6.

Pikas do not hibernate and winter survival depends on the success of their haying season. Each pika may make several haystacks within its territorial boundary but will usually concentrate on a single main stack, which by late August may be up to 2 feet high and 2 feet in diameter.

Weasels are pika’s most persistent predators and are so slim they can get into their burrows. Other predators include hawks, eagles and owls.

Alaskan Wildlife can be seen in Denali National Park. Kantishna Wilderness Trails provides Alaska Wildlife Day Tours while Kantishna Roadhouse offers Denali Wilderness Lodging and accommodations for Alaska Travel and Alaska Vacations deep into Denali National Park.

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