A pika (/ˈpaɪkə/ PY-kə; archaically spelled pica) is a small mammal, with short limbs, very round body, rounded ears, and no external tail. They resemble their close cousin the rabbit, but with shorter ears. They live in mountainous countries in Asia, and there are also two species in North America. Most pikas prefer rocky slopes. The large-eared pika of the Himalayas and nearby mountains is one of the highest living mammals; it is found at heights of more than 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). Pikas graze on a range of plants, mostly grasses, flowers and young stems. In the autumn, they pull hay, soft twigs and other stores of food into their burrows to eat during the long, cold winter. The name "pika" is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs; the latter also includes the Leporidae (rabbits and hares). One genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, and it includes 30 species. It is also known as the "whistling hare" due to its high-pitched alarm call when diving into its burrow. In the United States, the pika is colloquially called a "coney", a nonspecific term also used for rabbits, hares, and hyraxes. The name "pika" appears to be derived from the Tungus piika and the scientific name Ochotona is from the Mongolian word ogdoi which means pika.
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