(also Ochotonidae), a family of mammals of the order Duplicidentata. The mammals reach 25 cm in length and have short ears and a barely visible tail. The summer pelage ranges in color from ocher to red-brown; in winter the pelage is a lighter silver-ocher.
The family Lagomyidae contains a single genus, Ochotona. Of the 12 species, seven are found in the USSR. The animals are distributed in Asia, eastern North America, and southeastern Europe (southern Urals). They inhabit open areas in foothills and mountains at elevations reaching 6,000 m. The mammals are also found in steppe plains and rocky areas of the forest belt. They formerly inhabited the southern Russian steppes. The animals live in colonies and are active during the day and at dusk. Their sound is a birdlike peep. The mammals gather grass and small branches for the winter and pile them in “haystacks” weighing up to 20 kg. A litter contains five or six young. Members of the family include the steppe pika (O. pusilla) and the Altai pika (O. alpina). Some species are plague carriers.