Monday, September 13, 2010

A Zoology Lesson

A beautiful evening for a hike, and we came without our camera! No problem. Randy always has his IPHONE!
It was Monday evening. We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to hike the trail from Silver Lake to Twin Lakes.
While hiking over a landslide rock pile, we heard a strange and very loud chirping noise. Was this some sort of bird? We looked around -
- and spotted a little critter scampering helter-skelter carrying a twig in its mouth. We had never seen the likes of him. He was building a winter home in the rocks and happened to be very protective of his work. Randy pulled out his IPHONE to snap a photo, and the critter ran right for him and head-butted his leg! It was pretty humorous to see Randy with the willies!

We finished our hike, picnicked back at the bottom, then headed home to research our miniture mystery creature. Randy hopped on the internet and began... After an evening's worth of searching with no luck, I decided to post the question on my facebook page.

Kathryn Collier Anyone know the name of the little critters that live in the rocks above Silver Lake? Kind of a cross between a mouse and a squirrel with a short tail. They are NOT rock chucks or prairie dogs.

At Melissa's suggestion, we looked up a Pika. There he was - greenery and all!
A Zoology Lesson for the Day
The pika is a small animal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. Pikas are also called rock rabbits or coneys. It is also known as the "whistling hare" due to its high-pitched alarm call when diving into its burrow. Pikas are native to cold climates, mostly in AsiaNorth America and parts of eastern Europe. Most species live on rocky mountain sides, where there are numerous crevices to shelter in, although some also construct crude burrows. In the mountains of Eurasia, pikas often share their burrows with snowfinches, which build their nests there.

Cute little guy, isn't he? Thanks for being "in the know" Melissa!

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