This Might Be The Cutest Fur Ball Alive — But He’s In Danger
The pika just can't stand the heat.
The American pika is a chatty creature who lives in cold mountain climates and who rubs his little cheeks on rocks he wants to claim as his territory.
In short, this wild distant relative of bunnies, who uses a distinctive, sharp little bark to communicate, is just objectively cute.
Researchers surveyed areas where pikas had been seen as recently as 2012 - but the pikas were nowhere in sight.
This comes as little surprise to scientists who have been warning that a warming climate would mean danger for alpine creatures, among many other vulnerable animals and ecosystems.
The pika's fur is built for the very cold weather. If the temperature reaches 77 degrees, the pika's warm coat can actually kill them. And if temperatures do increase by 5.4 degrees by midcentury, as is predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this could be the beginning of the end of the pika.
The pika is still not on the endangered species list - but that could very well change soon.