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Pika or Cony

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The pikas is a small mammal that is also known as the cony and the "rock rabbit" (but they aren't really rabbits). Pikas are lagomorphs, closely related to rabbits and hares, but they are smaller and much noisier; they bark and bleat. Pikas live in cold, dry areas (high-altitude mountain slopes, deserts and grasslands) in western North America, southeastern Europe, and parts of Asia.

These territorial animals mark their range with scent from cheek glands. Pikas are diurnal, they are most active during the day. Pikas are social mammals, living in colonies or families. Desert- and grassland-dwelling pikas live in burrows; mountain-dwelling pikas live in rock crevices. Pikas live for about 3 years in captivity.

Diet: Pikas are herbivores (plant-eaters). They eat grasses, herbs, leaves, bark, and twigs. Pikas do not hibernate over winter. They stockpile huge amounts of food in a giant pile, which they will need when food is scarce in winter.

Anatomy: Pikas are about 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm) long and weigh 6 to 14 ounces (170-400 g). They have big ears and good hearing. The fur is soft; it is gray-brown on top and white on the belly.

Predators: These small animals are hunted by ermines, foxes, hawks, eagles, weasels, bears, and martens.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata (having a notochord), Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, and pikas), Family Ochotonidae (pikas).

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