any of several small, brown to gray tailless mammals
of the genus Ochotona,
resembling rabbits with short ears and legs and inhabiting western mountains of North America and parts of eastern Europe and Asia.
1820–30; recorded by the German naturalist P.S. Pallas (1741–1811) as the name for the animal in Evenki; compare Evenki (N Baikal dial.) pikačān a name for the tree creeper (Certhia familiaris), apparently based on Russian píkatʾ to squeak, peep (compare Russian pishchúkha a name for both the tree creeper and the pika, which emits a shrill sound)