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What an honour. Climbing a mountain and then being rewarded by this curious but cautious pika on the Highwood Meadows trail in the Kananaskis Country (Alberta, Canada).
The pika is a small chinchilla-like animal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. The name pika (pronounced /?pa?k?/ PYE-k?, archaically spelled pica) is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae (rabbits and hares). One genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, and it includes 30 species. Pikas are also called rock rabbits or coneys. It is also known as the “whistling hare” due to its high-pitched alarm call when diving into its burrow. The name “pika” appears to be derived from the Tungus piika, or perhaps from the Russian pikat “to squeak” (wikipedia).