The Large-eared pika (Ochotona macrotis) is one of several wild and native animals that live on the edge of human settlements in Nepal Himalaya. The quiet animals were surprisingly social, and were observed "playing" together (or they could have been fighting) in open grass plots between rosehip hedges.
We were in Manang to conduct the Nepal's first canine distemper survey in the Himalaya. Over two lovely evenings, our entire team were privileged to have the company of these pikas as we walked through fields of wild rose hips on the way back to our guesthouse. (Above: A pika feeds fastidiously on fresh greens)
Pikas may look like rodents but they are in fact a relative of rabbits - both rabbits and pikas have a second incisor in their upper jaw, a trait that no rodents have. (Above: Patience pays off! After sitting perfectly still at the edge of a rosehip hedge, a Pika settles to nibble some grass inches away from my camera! Photo: Ajay N. Rana)
This study was made possible by a grant from the National Geographic Society.
All images 2018 © Debby Ng/National Geographic