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Animals on the Move

A warming climate means shifting ranges and mixed-up relationships for a lot of species

10:21am, June 15, 2012

The American pika is second to only the polar bear as a symbol of a warming climate’s effects on animals. As their habitats have changed, pikas have hightailed it upslope.

Fuzzy, bright-eyed and no bigger than a baked potato, the American pika is the kind of critter you could imagine starring in a blockbuster animated movie for kids. With its high-pitched squeaks, its lightning quickness and its habit of racing around all summer to harvest and sun-dry “hay piles” of grasses and wildflowers for its winter meals, the tiny rabbit relative is one comical ball of fluff. But what’s happening to the pika is anything but amusing: Climate change has it in the hot seat.

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