Introducing the world’s most magical mammal

There’s no doubt America is a nation of animal lovers. According to the Humane Society, “pet ownership in the U.S. has more than tripled from the 1970s.”

We go so far as to categorize our fellow citizens as cat or dog people. Twitter accounts dedicated entirely to cute pets (I’m still waiting for a cute humans account) gain millions of followers, and where would sites like BuzzFeed be without its furry friends?

Domesticated dogs and cats can be lovable companions, but let’s not forget they also eat trash and roll in their own feces. That being said, it’s high time we turned the spotlight on the most underrated of all North American animals: the pika.

Think a bunny is adorable? What about the world’s most irresistible little mousey? How about a combination of the two? Hybrid bunny-mouse? Yes. It exists.

And it gets better.

Being the world’s cutest creature is not all the pika has going for it. Sure, the pika has a compact, little, round body covered in fluffy fur (devoid, I might add, of creepy tail), matching round ears, alert, intelligent eyes, and a face that exudes both darling and “don’t mess.”

Pikas also gather wildflowers. They eat them and use them in their nests, and sometimes can be caught carrying them around in their mouths. Behold:

Moreover, the American spirit is manifested in the small and mighty pika’s sense of self-reliance and preparedness. Pikas are enterprising. They start their day’s work early in the morning, and work hard all throughout the summer months to gather enough of a food store to last them all winter, since they don’t hibernate.

There is more to a pika than fluff and cuteness. They are also adventurers. Different varieties of pikas can be found throughout the world, but the American variety, according to the National Wildlife Federation, “have adapted to living in very inhospitable environments. They live where most other mammals do not venture to go–the treeless slopes of mountains. It is very cold, rocky, and treacherous for the tiny pika.”

Pikas are tough. They are very territorial and “will guard and defend their own areas from other pikas.” Some pikas are asocial, and “lead solitary lives outside breeding season.”

Pikas can, however, also be generous: “[They] commonly live in family groups and share duties of gathering food and keeping watch.” Though pikas typically nest in rocky crags near mountain meadows, the burrowing species “often share food stores with their burrow mates.”

The pika is like a mystical creation from a book of fairy tales. His looks are a unique fusion of cute meets cute, he’s one part pioneer, one part loyal pal, and one big part independent loner who can stand on his own two paws.

Oh, and he survives on pretty bouquets which he also uses to decorate his home. What’s not to love?


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