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Ochotona princeps

Scientific Name:Ochotona princeps
Common name:American pika
Rank and Status   
Global Rank:G5 Native Status:Native
Subnational (State) Rank:S2 Endemic:No
US ESA Status:None Sand Dunes:No
NNHP Tracking Status:At-Risk List Wetland:No
Other Agency Status Status Last Updated Status Comments
Bureau of Land Management - Nevada Sensitive BLM Nevada Sensitive Species List dated 2017-10-01
State of Nevada Protected Protected Mammal NAC 503.030.1
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2012 Species of Conservation Priority
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2005 Species of Conservation Priority
CCVI Score Highly Vulnerable Conf. VH.; Factors contributing to increased vulnerability are natural barriers, physiological thermal niche, ice/snow, physical habitat, documented response, and modeled change.
Distribution (NV Counties)

Status: Predicted or probable

Carson City Eureka Pershing White Pine
Douglas Lyon Storey

Status: Confident or certain

Churchill Esmeralda Lander Nye
Elko Humboldt Mineral Washoe
Summary Occurrence Data
Occurrence Count:36
Total Observed Area (hectares):Not Available
Maximum Known Elevation (m):3621
Minimum Known Elevation (m):1661
Ochotona princeps data at NatureServe
Ochotona princeps photos and data at Encyclopedia of Life
Character Abstract
Identification Comments:
Subspecies Comments:
Food Habits:Feeds primarily on grasses and sedges; also eats some flowering plants and shoots of woody vegetation.
Phenology Comments:
Reproduction Comments:Seasonally polyestrus. Gestation lasts approximately 30 days. Produces 1-2 litters of usually 2-5 young/litter, May-September; most young come from first litters. In most areas parturition begins in May with a peak in June, occurs as early as March in some low elevation areas (Smith and Weston 1990). Young dependent on mother for at least<br>18 days, weaned as early as 3-4 weeks. Juveniles establish territories and haypiles in summer of birth, but do not breed until their second summer. Maximum life span 7 years.
Migration Mobility:
Habitat Comments:Restricted to rocky talus slopes, or rimrocks with deep fissures and crevices, primarily the talus-meadow interface. The lower talus slopes at this interface (within the talus matrix below the surface rocks) has been shown to provide the coolest warm-season temperatures. They also maintain greater winter snow cover, insulating haypiles and reducing exposure to cold outside air (Millar 2011). Also occupy areas above the treeline up to limit of vegetation and lower elevations in rocky areas within forests or near lakes. Does not dig burrows but may enlarge den or nest site under rock. Recent surveys in CA and NV found pika at elevations between 1,827 and 3,887 meters (5,994-12,752 feet) (Millar and Westfall 2010).
Ecology comments:Pikas are active year-round. In late summer and fall, they harvest and store food (forbs, grasses, marmot pellets) for winter consumption; stored food may be most important when winter is unusually harsh or long. They are relatively inactive on warm days; near their lower elevation limit they may be inactive at midday in hot weather (Smith and Weston 1990). Pikas are individually territorial, relatively long-lived (some can live up to 6 years of age), and vacant territories are scarce. Hence, an important factor in juvenile survival is their ability to find and colonize a vacant territory.
Version Date:11/02/1999 - 12:00am
American pika (Ochotona princeps), Mt. Rose
Photographer: Kristin Szabo
Photo Date: 2009-08-23