During the mating season males frequently give successive calls to declare their possession of territory. While northern pikas typically live as mated pairs, males may breed with three females. Males may travel over 200 m to mate with another female. Occasionally, females will be visited by multiple males at the same time.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Northern pikas have stable populations but low reproductive rates. Northern pikas in the northern parts of their range tend to have one large litter a year. In the southern parts of their range they breed twice a year, with slightly smaller litters. Litter size ranges from one to nine young, with average litter size being three to four. Gestation period is 28 days. Sources disagree over whether northern pikas breed as yearlings or if females are unable to breed until their second year.
Breeding interval: Northern pikas in the northern parts of their range tend to have one large litter a year. In the southern parts of their range they breed twice a year, with slightly smaller litters.
Breeding season: Northern pikas breed once in the spring and, if they breed twice a year, again in the summer.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 9.
Average number of offspring: 3-4.
Average gestation period: 28 days.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
When young leave their natal territory varies geographically. In the southern parts of their range young disperse and form pairs in their first summer. In the northern part of their range, young that are born in the summer remain with their parents throughout the winter before dispersing. Northern pikas in the Ural Mountains also contributed to their parent’s food stores while they remained in their territory. Females nurse and care for their young in a summer nest. The mated pair or family group contribute to gathering food stores for the winter.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents