According to a new study, pikas living in the highlands of Asia eat yak droppings to survive the winter.
Animals like little rabbits, often compared to Pokemon Pikachu characters, can’t hibernate winter When food is scarce, they slow down metabolism, eat yak droppings and pass through the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. temperature It drops to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 degrees Celsius).
Animals employ all sorts of unexpected strategies to survive, lead author John Speakman, a professor of biology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China, told Live Science in an email. ..
“Many animals, including rabbits and pikas, eat their dung,” Speakman said. Eating such poop, or coprophagia, can help animals absorb nutrients that were initially indigestible from food, Live science previously reported.. “But eating other species of dung is relatively rare,” he added.
Pikas are a group of small mammals found in North America and Asia.According to the video game website, the original design of Pikachu was actually inspired by squirrels, but they are associated with the Pokemon Pikachu with a similar name. Kotaku..
Plateau pika (Pika) Lives in high-altitude meadows up to about 16,400 feet (5,000 meters) above sea level. During the winter, they do not hibernate or move to warmer climates, so how to survive the cold remains a mystery.
To answer this question, Speakman and his colleagues have been monitoring plateau pikas for 13 years using a variety of techniques, including photographing adorable creatures and implanting temperature recorders in animals.Their findings were published in the journal on Monday (July 19th). Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences..
To save energy, Pika lowered her body temperature and restricted physical activity such as foraging. At some survey sites, pikas also ate yak droppings (Bos grunniens), The phenomenon that the team captured on the film.
Yak is abundant in some parts of the plateau, and their dung has already passed through the yak, so it can be easily digested for pikas. Digestive system.. Studies have shown that munching yak droppings can help pikas consume less energy than looking for other food sources. Feces may contain nutrients and water that are otherwise deficient, and pikas also benefit from it.
Pika’s preference for yak droppings may explain why yaks are found in higher densities, even though scientists believe the two species are competing with each other for food. not.
“We are currently studying what other benefits we can make,” Speakman said. “There are also obvious potential costs, such as exposure to intestinal parasites, which is probably why it is not a very common behavior.”
Originally published in Live Science.
Real-life Pikachu eats yak droppings to survive the Tibetan winter
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