Some may recognize Larry the Pika -my favorite little alpine critter. I figured after the last image of Larry when he was yawning (and scaring small children), he was owed a better, cuter image. Larry lives in a talus field at about 14,000ft on Mt Evans.
As posted previously, pikas are endangered due to climate change and global warming. They’re highly specialized little animals, with adaptations to high altitude, high winds, and extremely cold temps. Because of these adaptations, they handle alpine peaks extremely well, but they don’t manage warm temps at all. If temps get above 75F for long, they can’t survive, and quickly die.
That means they can’t just migrate to colder areas – they have to pass through warmer temps to do so. All they can do is climb higher until they run out of mountain.
As you can see in the photo, part of their special adaptations are hairy feet and hairy little toes, and a hairy little nose (no warm, wet black nose here) – all with the idea of retaining heat in cold weather.
Pikas are considered to be one of the few altruistic species in the world, including marmots and, arguably, humans. They will remain outside in danger, barking out an alarm to their neighbors if predators are near.
Pika (Ochotona princeps)
Mt Evans Wilderness Area, CO
Sigma 300mm f/2.8+1.4TC
ISO200, 1/1320sec, f/5.6, -2/3EV