Altai pika – Abstract


Altai pika,
or Alpine pika[1] (lat. Ochotona
) is a mammal of the genus pikas
the order of lagomorphs. Sometimes combined
with the Northern pika.


One of the largest
pikas. Body length of 17.5—25.1 cm, weight
160-350 g. Males average somewhat
larger than females. The tail is very short.
Ears fairly large, rounded; their length
equal to about half the length of the head —
A 1.8—2.6 cm At the edges of the ears
is a narrow pale edges. Vibrissae
relatively long, to 6-7 cm
black. The color of the summer fur is much
varies from light yellowish-gray
to brown-ochre and brown-brown. Boca
with a reddish tinge; belly pale,
yellowish or brownish. Places
Dating a fully black specimen.
Winter fur ash-gray or brownish-gray
with dark longitudinal waviness at base.
The spring molt occurs from April to June,
autumn — from August to October.
It forms up to 7 geographical forms,
differing in size and color. In
the karyotype of 42 chromosomes.


Altai pika
widespread in the South of Eastern Siberia,
in Mongolia (Khangai, Mongolian and
Gobi Altai) and the North-East
China (Northern Gansu). On
Russia there are 3 phases

  • Western
    (Altai, Sayan, Tuva),

  • Central
    (Baikal basin, Barguzin

  • East
    (South-Eastern Transbaikalia, Borzinskiy

known from the late Pleistocene
cave sediments of the Western and
the North-Western Altai.


The most characteristic
habitats are stone
placers, covered with moss, and the outputs of indigenous
species, particularly in woodlands and taiga.
Plots of forest vegetation is not
avoids. Found on the upper reaches
a small taiga rivers and streams, where
strong clutter windbreaks
creates a good protective conditions. In
Alpine tundra lives in the rocky
placers, “fields” moraine boulders,
clusters of stones among the bushes
dwarf birch and Alpine meadows.
In the mountain taiga prefers green-purse
forests, especially pine forests. In The Altai,
The Kuznetsk Alatau, Western Sayan
it is found at altitudes 1270-2100 m above
sea level, in forest, subalpine and
Alpine zones. Basic shelters
are the voids between the stones; inside
pika builds the nest out of leaves
grasses, moss and fine roots. Soft
peat soils can dig a hole deep
up to 1 m in the Winter is mostly
under the snow the way of life, only occasionally
leaving through vents to the surface.

Altai pika leads
day way of life. On a hot Sunny
days active in the morning (from 5 h to 10 h) and evening
cloudy almost all day. In the winter
activity reduced. Settles as
the rule in colonies, often in multi-year
and large, where the population density
can reach 40-60 animals per 1 ha.
Pika kept in pairs, consisting of
male and female, who together harvested
feed. Do not tolerate the presence of
neighbors on their territory. Family
the plots have clear boundaries marked
the secret of cervical glands. Acoustic
the repertoire of the Altai pikas varied;
typical danger signal — loud
whistling, resembling the whistling of a bird.


The range of food is very
broad and varies depending on
habitat and season; it includes
various plants and mushrooms and
lichens. In warm time of the year gives
preference the green parts of plants,
flowers, seeds, and berries. Intense
fodder for the winter begins with
mid-July and lasts until October.
In the animals that live on the rocky
placers, reserves are
the bundles of hay that are stacked in the gap
and the niches between the stones; in the forest — “Stozhkov”
hay under the trunks of old trees.
Stozhkov height can reach 2 m,
weight not dried hay — 27 kg
(Western Sayan). Among the favorite
a common feed — fireweed (Chamaenerion
), juicy grasses and sedges, Highlander
Alpine (Polygonum alpinum), Rhodiola
pink, black currant shoots. Often
pikas store hellebore, even though it is not
eat. The couple pikas usually have from 2
to 7 storerooms at a distance of 1-3 m each
from another, often in the same places
from year to year.


The breeding season
lasts from April to July — August.
Broods per year of 1-2, rarely 3; number of
cubs in a litter of 1-4. Maximum
the number of cubs — 8. Pregnancy
lasts about 30 days; newborn
developed, covered with hair. Young females
enter into the reproduction of only 2-year
life. The maximum duration
life to 6 years.

The number

Altai pika
quite common, in places numerous.
The number is subject to significant
fluctuations in both local and
covering a large area.
Economic significance is small: in the range
can damage the seedlings and undergrowth
valuable tree species (cedar). At low
the number of rodents pika —
the main object of power sable. Data
of the epidemic value do not exist.


  1. Sokolov V. E.
    Patheticly dictionary of animal names.
    Mammals. Latin, Russian,
    English, German, French. /
    under the General editorship Acad. V. E. Sokolov.
    — M.: Rus. lang., 1984. — S. 204. Is 10 000 copies.


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