Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

American Pika

(Ochotona princeps)

Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Ochotonidae
Genus: Ochotona
Species: princeps
Length: Body ranges from 6-8 inches
Lifespan: Avg 3-4 years, up to 7 years
Feed: Green plants, including different kinds of grasses, sedges, thistles and fireweed
Habitat: fields fringed by suitable vegetation in alpine and subalpine mountain areas
 

Life History:

Pikas breed in March or April and have a litter of three or four young after a gestation period of about 30 days. Some females have a second litter. Maximum life span is three to seven years.

 

Distribution and Habitat:

 

The American pika is a small mammal that inhabits fields fringed by suitable vegetation in alpine and subalpine mountain areas extending south from central British Columbia and Alberta into the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The historical range of the species includes California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

A key characteristic of the American pika is its temperature sensitivity; death can occur after brief exposures to ambient temperatures greater than 77.9 °F. Therefore, the range of the species progressively increases with elevation in the southern extents of its distribution. In Canada, populations occur from sea level to 9,842 feet, but in New Mexico, Nevada, and southern California, populations rarely exist below 8,202 feet.

 

Threats:

 

Predators, which includes: eagles, hawks, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, and weasels. As they live in the high and cooler mountain regions, they are very sensitive to high temperatures, studies suggest that species populations are declining due to various factors, most notably global warming

 
For more information on the American Pika visit the FWS Mountain-Prairie website.
 

Actions / Current Information:

 

  02/05/2010 News Release: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Endangered Species Act Protection for the American Pika Is Not Warranted
  02/05/2010 Questions and Answers Regarding the Status Review Finding For the American Pika
  05/07/2009 News Release: Fish and Wildlife Service to Conduct Status Review of the American Pika
  05/07/2009 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the American Pika asThreatened or Endangered with CriticalHabitat
     
Last updated: April 16, 2014