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American Pika on Snow

Near Bozeman, Montana

Brrr! It was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and high atop a snowy mountain peak, a tiny American pika named Pip was having a bit of an existential crisis. Wrapped in his luxurious winter coat (think of the fuzziest earmuffs you've ever seen), Pip surveyed the scene. Two feet of snow – that's like a whole pika over, dude! – had blanketed the mountain in a pristine white sheet.

But Pip wasn't worried. Unlike those lazy bears who snooze the winter away, pikas are the ultimate hustlers of the animal kingdom. They're all about that #NoHibernation life. Pip had spent all summer stockpiling a mountain (well, a pika-sized mountain) of his favorite snacks – juicy grasses, crunchy leaves, and the occasional bit of moss for some extra roughage ( gotta keep that gut healthy!).

He scurried across the snow, his little pink nose twitching with excitement.  See, all that snow wasn't just a fashion statement for the mountains; it was like a giant, fluffy fridge keeping Pip's personal grocery store – those hay piles peeking out from under the snowdrifts – perfectly preserved!  Imagine having your own personal pantry built right outside your front door!

Now, some might think winter for a tiny pika sounds like a recipe for frostbite, but Pip knew better.  Those tunnels under the rocks? Totally pimped out with dried plants for extra insulation.  And his body? Burning at a steady 105 degrees Fahrenheit – that's practically a walking space heater, folks!

So while the rest of the world was napping or bundled up with cocoa, Pip was living his best life, a furry little ball of energy munching on his winter stash and plotting his next foraging adventure.  Because hey, who needs hibernation when you've got hustle, heart, and a seriously impressive hay pile?

-By Jere Folgert

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