Pika cries “eep!”


Pikas live in talus, usually near the treeline.

The talus visited two days ago was near neither road nor trail. The pikas that lived there would likely be unfamiliar with humans, as even access from below was impeded by a bog.

However, a pika saw a human that day, and after consideration, it issued an alarm of “eep”. Consequently, all the pikas vanished into the talus. But, for how long?

A pika is a herbivore that is hunted by coyotes, bobcats, weasels, and raptors, none of which look or move like a lumbering human. Is this new interloper a predator? This pika was low on the talus, seemingly positioned to guard the approach. To assess the danger, the pika popped up at various places around the interloper. As the pika is prey, it has eyes on the sides of its head to give it a wide field of view. It is watching sideways. 

The pika took its time before adopting the route of caution. Here it is facing its colleagues on the upper portion of the talus and crying, “eep”. It and all other pikas then vanished among the rocks.

Nothing stirred for about twenty minutes, but then, assuming that danger had passed, a few pikas emerged and began foraging among the rocks for lichen. 

Some adventurous ones even left the talus to forage for greens on adjacent slopes. Despite their rather large ears, these pikas did not seem aware of the incessant camera clicks.

“Eep, I told you, eep! Do you want to end up being gawked at on someone’s blog? Shame on you!”


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4 Responses to Pika cries “eep!”

  1. Karen Pidcock says:

    Thanks…a long time since I have hiked high enough to enjoy these critters…only wish there was audio to hear their high pitches voices!

  2. Mary J Williams says:

    Never heard of this critter. Thanks for the information!

  3. Jo Groff says:

    How wonderful!!!

  4. Denise Brownlie says:

    Your pictures of Pika made my day !
    I saw a small group of Pika once, when I was still able to hike with the Central Okanagan Naturalists Club.
    What a wonderful treat today, to have that memory come back clearly. Yes, the Pika were on the talus, near the tree-line.
    And yes, they said “eep” to communicate with each other. Sweet little furry herbivores, always in danger as a prey animal. Long may they be with us !
    Thanks, Alistair.

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