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An Introduction to Northern Pika!

This is a video on the ecology of Northern Pika, an endangered species in Hokkaido.
The video, titled "Keep it up! Northern Pika - He can do his best. Pika" (頑張れ!エゾナキウサギ He can do his best. Pika), was released by "Shinji Kawamura."

The Northern Pika, is a small mammal of the ochotonidae family, and its identifying characteristic is its high pitched cry.
In Japan, they only live in high lands like Mt. Daisetsu, Mt. Yubari, and Mt. Hidaka in Hokkaido.
Their distinct high pitched cry can be seen in the video from 1:09.

The Northern Pika is said to have arrived in Japan from the Siberian continent during the ice age.
In this video, you can see the lives of cute, wild Northern Pika.
Please enjoy the video showing the ecology of Northern Pika.

What is the Northern Pika?

Image of Pika
Photo:Northern Pika

The Northern Pika is also called the "God of Rocky Lands" due to its habit of running around the rocky land of their natural habitat.
Hokkaido’s aboriginal Ainu people used to call the Northern Pika "Cicit Cu Kamuy" (チチッ・チュ・カムイ, roughly "The Cheeping God") in Ainu language.

The mouse-like Northern Pika is very small, weighing only about 60-150 grams, with a length of 10-20 cm, and a lifespan of about 4-5 years, which is shorter than most pika.
They are full of curiosity but very timid, so they are very rarely seen in public.

Their natural habitat is the cold wind caves of the Daisetsuzan mountains located high above sea level that don't freeze during the winter.
In Japan, these critters are also known to only inhabit Hokkaido.
Their breeding period is once a year from spring to summer, and they give birth to 1 to 5 kittens at a time.

How Northern Pika Survive Winter

The Northern Pika is entirely vegetarian, feeding on every plant in the mountains and is sometimes called "the pacifist of the mountains."
In the video from 0:42, there is a scene of an Northern Pika with leaves in its mouth.

Northern Pika do not hibernate so they must make winter preparations before the snow piles up. This involves stocking their houses with food.
They have the intelligence to dry plants such as leaves, turning it into a dry-grass-preserved food which allows them to survive up to 6 months of harsh winter.

They store about a bucketful of food in each of the several locations in their territory.
You can see this in the video from 1:49.

Where Can I See Northern Pika?

Image of Autumn leaves of beautiful Daisetsuzan
Photo:Beautiful Autumn Leaves at Daisetsuzan

Northern Pika live in only limited parts of Hokkaido, so the possibility of encountering them is very low.
If you do mountain climbing or participate in nature tours and go to photo points, you may have a chance to see them.

Northern Pika only live in the wild, and it is said that they cannot be raised in zoos and laboratories.
It is also impossible to keep them as pets.
If you are attracted to the cute Northern Pika, we recommend that you buy a plush toy or photo book as a souvenir of your trip to Hokkaido.

Summary of the Northern Pika

In the introductory video, you can see scenes of Northern Pika running around busily searching for food.
There's something soothing about looking at this little critter squeaking about.

These animals are hard to find in the wild, so be sure to take the time to check out the videos and enjoy their cuteness!

Written By
Apr. 17, 2021
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!

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  • May. 25, 2021
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