Pika (Lagomys Cuv.), a genus of the family leporidce, including the tailless hares. They have no visible tail, the ears are short and rounded, the hind legs short, and the molars (5-5)/(5-5); the skull is very flat, dilated behind, the interorbital space contracted, the supraorbital processes absent, the orbits directed upward, and the malar bones extending backward nearly to the opening of the ear chamber; there is one principal opening in the nasal process of the superior maxillary bone; the zygomatic arch is remarkably short; the coronoid process of the lower jaw a mere tubercle, and the mental foramen situated near the middle of the ramus; the principal upper incisors have a deep vertical groove on the outer side, and terminate in two points with a notch at the end; the lower incisors simple; the upper molars as in the hares, the lower with a deep outer groove; there are generally small naked pads at the ends of the toes, the rest of the feet densely clothed with fur. The pikas are small, the largest not exceeding a Guinea pig; they are found only in alpine or subalpine districts, where they live in burrows or among loose stones, remaining quiet by day and feeding at night; the food consists of herbage of different kinds, which they store up in little piles in autumn; when feeding they often utter a chirping or whistling noise.
The alpine pika (L. alpinus, Cuv.) is about 9 1/2 in. long, with long and soft fur, grayish next the skin; general color above grayish brown, yellowish gray below; feet pale with a yellowish tinge; the ears margined with white; it inhabits Siberia from the river Irtish to Kamtchatka. Other species are found in the mountainous districts of Hin-dostan, some of them 6,000 or 8,000 ft. above the sea. The Rocky mountain pika (Z. prin-ceps, Rich.), or little chief hare, is about 7 in. long; the general color is grayish above, pencilled with black and yellowish whife; yellowish brown on the sides, and dirty yellowish white below; it is found along the Rocky mountains from lat. 42° to 60° N.; it frequents heaps of loose stones, coming out after sunset. Three or four fossil species are described, from the osseous breccia and the pliocene of Europe.
Rocky Mountain Pika (Lagomys princeps).