Evenings with a Young Pika
Near Bozeman, Montana.
This young pika was a little clumsy for a few weeks as a youngster! As it would forage for new fresh greens and plants, it would often mis-calculate distances and make failed jumps. Although the jumps were painful mistakes, this was all part of the learning process for the young pika. Often, the juvenile pika would bark or make a call, if it was afraid, and to warn other pikas of potential danger. The frequency of this juvenile's bark or call was higher than that of an adult pika.
At this talus site near Bozeman, Montana, the adult pikas mate about one month before the snow begins to melt. For this pika colony, the mating season typically begins in late April. Female American pikas have the potential to give birth twice a year to a litter of around three babies. The gestation period for the pika is approximately 30 days. Typically, one litter survives to the weaning stage; Litters can be consumed by predators, die from malnutrition, cold spring weather and disease.
The American pika is a small member of the rabbit family that inhabits alpine regions of south-western Canada and the western U.S.