Definition of pika in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpiːkə//ˈpʌɪkə/


  • A small mammal related to the rabbits, having rounded ears, short limbs, and a very small tail, found mainly in the mountains and deserts of Asia.

    Family Ochotonidae and genus Ochotona: many species, including the collared pika (O. collaris), of western North America

    Also called mouse hare
    • ‘The Amami rabbit's ancestors diverged early on from the main Leporid branch, between 10 or 20 million years ago, about half as long ago as the pikas and the ancestral rabbits separated.’
    • ‘One group of species that are affected by a short growing season are talus-dwelling pikas (Lagomorpha: Ochotonidae).’
    • ‘The ermine's diet consists primarily of mice, but they also prey upon cottontails, small hares, porcupines, squirrels, pikas, and rats.’
    • ‘Elephant shrews (no relation), pikas, and Tupaia treeshrews share both absentee-like maternal care and diurnality - that is, they are active during the day, when prey is more easily spotted by predators.’
    • ‘Their principle source of food is mice, but squirrels, snowshoe hares, and pikas are also popular.’


Early 19th century: from Tungus piika.