While walking near the ski runs on Grouse Mountain you might hear an occasional sound that resembles a squeeker from a dog toy. This sound, an alarm call, is coming from a small diurnal (active during the day) mammal known as a Pika, which inhabits the rocky terrain found around the mountain.
The American Pika (Ochotona princeps) is the species of Pika that is common to western North America and they are normally found above the tree line in the alpine. However, they are known to adapt to any area at elevation where large rock fields are created, such as ski runs.
Pika's are members of order Lagomorpha, which includes rabbits and hares. They are strict herbavores who feed on a variety of alpine grasses and leaves. They do not hibernate in the winter time, but rather store caches of dried vegetation to feed on in the cold winter months. They can be seen during the summer months both feeding and drying out their grasses for the coming winter season.
Watch and listen for this curious little mammal next time you are walking on talus or rocky slopes!