The Real-Life Pikachu: I Photograph The American Pika In Their Extreme Mountainous Homes (19 Pics)
Hi there! I'm Deirdre Denali Rosenberg. And I am happy you're here. Since I was a real little kid, I could be found wandering the woods and high peaks of the Rocky Mountains. I found such comfort and freedom in these wild spaces, befriending trees and wildlife alike. From the time I can remember, my favorite little creature has been the American pika, a wondrous friend that dwells in alpine habitats. Also, yes - Pikachu from Pokémon is based on these adorable animals!
Their habitats are incredibly extreme, both terrain-wise and conditions-wise. And wow, are pikas evolved to thrive in these frigid extremes. So I would like to share a little American pika love today. They are cute, they are wonderful and they are hardcore mountaineers!
An American Pika Making Sure The Coast Is Clear From The Entrace Of Her Winter Den
Unlike many other animals living in freezing conditions, American pika do not hibernate. Instead, they work all summer to gather up tundra grasses that they turn into hay piles: big mounds of grass that dry in the sunshine. Summertime is when pikas are the most active, bounding across talus fields with mouths stuffed full! They feast on these hay piles all autumn/winter/spring and live comfortably under the talus for about 7 months out of the year. And once in a while, with patience, you can observe them come out of their cozy winter dens, run across the snow, and munch up the grass they worked so hard to prepare.
Golden Hour At 12,500 Ft - Something All Creatures Enjoy!
As our climate is changing, pika are having a hard time adapting. They cease to live when temperatures exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit for long. And that's a big issue! Pika have become an indicator species for climate change and their numbers have decreased significantly over the decades. But through my research, I am finding bits of hope that tell me all is not lost with this amazing animal. I have found a few special colonies in lower elevations that have moved down the slope. This allows them to seek cool, rocky, and shady habitats along mountain creeks. It's fascinating and shows that while slow to adapt to a quickly changing planet, they are adapting.