The first image I posted of Larry the Pika yawning was a little overwhelming, and it scared kids, too.

This image is a little more appealing, I think. I managed to catch him in a very brief stretch and yawn before he disappeared back into his burrow under the talus.

I spent most of the morning above 14,000ft, with a mission. I wanted to get some behavioral images of pikas, and Larry being the most accessible pika in Colorado, got the attention.

I got a bunch of the usual pika perched on a rock shots, but also got a few of these and some others with him gathering food for the winter.

I just liked this one so much I wanted to post it right away.

When they spot a predator or potential danger (or if you get too close to their little hay bales), they emit a surprisingly loud EEENK. They also keep themselves in harm’s way to alert their neighbors. It’s more common to hear pikas than see them.

Pikas, and marmots to a lesser extent, are considered at risk species due to climate change and global warming. They live on what is essentially a cold island. They are unable to migrate to different locations, as doing so would require them to cross long stretches of excessively hot ground. Their only alternative is to climb higher and higher up the mountain, and there’s only so much mountain to climb. Most pikas spend their entire lives in a half-mile radius. It’s estimated that pikas cannot survive in temps higher than 75F for more than a few hours.

Pika (Ochotona princeps)
Mt Evans Wilderness Area, CO
Sony a700
Sigma 300mm f/2.8+1.4TC

ISO400, 1/1320sec, f/4.5


endangered, wildlife, alpine, mammal, conservation, hibernation, pika

I’m primarily a nature photographer, usually wildlife, and I have lots of access to wildlife in Colorado. My main goal is to capture some of the individual personality of each of the animals I photograph – to document not just a fox, for instance, but to show something of that specific fox, something unique about that individual animal.

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  • JanT
    JanTabout 5 years ago

    Great shot, Jay. Does this look different than the EEENK! ? Remarkable clarity and yes, quite endearing.

  • Oh, EEENK was mild compared to this

    – Jay Ryser

  • kaotic-shell
    kaotic-shellabout 5 years ago

    brilliant capture!!

  • It helps to have a great model

    – Jay Ryser

  • Marvin Collins
    Marvin Collinsabout 5 years ago

    Excellent capture Jay!!

  • Neil Bygrave (NATURELENS)
    Neil Bygrave (...about 5 years ago

    Lovely image

  • Krys Bailey
    Krys Baileyabout 5 years ago

    Jay, you are, to me, Missus Marmot, the World’s Best Pika Photographer! This is sooooooo cute! ;o)

  • kathy s gillentine
    kathy s gillen...about 5 years ago

    Fantastic capture, what a cutie

  • Lori Peters
    Lori Petersabout 5 years ago

    Excellent, Jay!! What a cute little pika. xo

  • titus
    titusabout 5 years ago

    great moment captured.

  • seawhisper
    seawhisperabout 5 years ago

    another one going to my favs :D

  • lorilee
    lorileeabout 5 years ago

    Just love these guys – - – a fun shot!!!!!

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