Definition of pika in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈpʌɪkə//ˈpiːkə/


  • 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.

    Also called mouse hare
    • ‘One group of species that are affected by a short growing season are talus-dwelling pikas (Lagomorpha: Ochotonidae).’
    • ‘Their principle source of food is mice, but squirrels, snowshoe hares, and pikas are also popular.’
    • ‘The ermine's diet consists primarily of mice, but they also prey upon cottontails, small hares, porcupines, squirrels, pikas, and rats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


Early 19th century: from Tungus piika.