The name pika is used
for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of
lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae (rabbits and hares).
Either one or two genera are recognised within the family, which
includes about 26 species. Pikas are also called rock rabbits.
Pikas are native to cold climates, mostly in Asia, North America
and parts of eastern Europe. It is also known as the "whistling
hare" due to its high-pitched warning cry when diving into
its burrow. Pikas commonly live in family groups and share duties
of gathering food and keeping watch. Pikas show their peak activity
before the winter season. Pikas do not hibernate so they rely
on collected hay for warm bedding and food. Pikas gather fresh
grasses and lay them in stacks to dry. Once the grasses dry out
the Pikas take this hay back to the burrows for storage. It is
not uncommon for pikas to steal hay from other dens; the resulting
disputes are usually exploited by neighboring predators like ferrets
and large birds.