Turkestan red pika
|Turkestan red pika|
|Turkestan Red Pika range|
The Turkestan red pika (Ochotona rutila) is a species of mammal in the Ochotonidae family. It is found in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, possibly Afghanistan, and possibly China. It prefers rocky habitats and is found mostly in the Pamir, Kirgiz, Gissar, and Tien Shan mountain ranges. The "red" in its common name comes from the rusty color of the back of its summer coat. It is also known as the “silent” pika because it doesn’t make an alarm whistle or other vocal noises.
Like other pikas, the Turkestan red pika is herbivorous. However, unlike most other pikas, it is averse to coming out into open meadows and does most of its feeding on plants growing among the rocks. Because of this, each individual’s territory is considerably bigger than that of the average rock-dwelling pika.
The Turkestan red pika generally has two litters of two to six offspring annually. Its mating habits may vary based on the population size in the area each year. Unusually for pikas that live in rocky habitats, its young may spend their first winter on their parents’ territory.
- Grzimek, Bernhard, ed. "Turkestan red pika". Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. Vol. 16. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2003. 499.
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