Watch: For some pikas, winter means fast food and saving energy

North American pikas survive their high-altitude winters by keeping warm in their burrows. Not so for the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Temperatures there plunge below negative 30 degrees Celsius, but they keep on foraging. How do they do it?  According to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they reduce their metabolism by about 30% to conserve energy.

The pikas also have another trick to get through the winters. They eat yak feces. It may not be the best meal, researchers say, but it’s fast.

Read more from Science News and watch the video below.

Header Image: Plateau pikas forage through brutal winters, lowering their metabolism to survive. Credit: Qingsheng Chi