Patience has paid off and I can now say I have a “pika with salad” photo! These little creatures are NOT easy to photograph. They move quickly and deliberately. Patience, patience and practice to capture this moment. If you don’t know about pika, they are a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and no external tail. They are related to the rabbit or hare. Pikas live in high mountain ecosystems that are cool and moist. Higher temperatures can cause them to overheat. Pikas do not hibernate, so they generally spend time during the summer collecting and storing food they will eat over the winter. Each rock-dwelling pika stores its own “haypile” of dried vegetation. Pikas have a high pitched call and many times are heard before being seen. They make calls and sing to define and protect their territory, alert others to the presence of dangers and attract mates. Did you know the pika is in danger because of climate change? Pikas have already disappeared from more than one-third of their previously known habitat in Oregon and Nevada. The situation is so dire that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering the pika for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Unlike other mountain species that can move to higher altitudes in warming climates, pikas live so high on the mountain that there is no where for them to go. Without our protection and help, American pikas could be the first species with the distinction of going extinct due to global warming. It would sure be sad to see this adorable little mammal disappear.