Lemmings are actually small rodents that live in the Arctic, in the tundra biomes.
Lemmings are about 13-18 cm in length and they weigh around 23-24 gm.
They generally have a round body structure with a mixture of brown and black fur. The fur is quite long and soft.
You will find lemmings with a very short tail and short legs. They also have a flattened claw on the first digit of their front feet which helps them to dig in the snow.
They are herbivores and feed generally on grasses and mosses. They live underground in summer and during winter since they cannot live underground, they tend to live under the snow.
These species have several subspecies including the collared lemmings, the southern bog lemmings, the yellow steep lemmings, the wood lemmings, bog lemmings, and also the true lemmings.
They are generally found in places like Norway, Alaska, and northern Canada among other such places that support a winter-like atmosphere.
What Are Some Life And Habitat Lemmings Facts For Kids?
The Tundra doesn’t have enough food to feed the millions of lemmings. As a result, the lemmings roam all around the tundra looking for food and are eventually eaten by predators or starved to death.
When the lemmings run out of food and space, they often leave to find new homes and food. Millions of lemmings roam across the arctic in search of food but eventually get eaten by foxes and owls. Some of the lemmings even drown when they try to swim across the rivers.
Now as a result of this situation, the lemmings that are still alive now find enough space and food to recover and in this way, they start to breed and multiply again.
The lemming population has drastically reduced considering their reproduction rates in the past. In the past, there used to be 300 lemmings per every million square feet, which has now been reduced to just one lemming per every million square feet.
However, lemmings are largely solitary beings and they always prefer to live alone. You will find two lemmings staying together only at the time of mating.
They mate with female partners during the breeding season and can give birth to seven young lemmings. Lemmings generally reach the age of sexual maturity by one month from their birth.
Lemmings usually have shorter life spans and live for about one to three years.
What Are Some Interesting Lemmings Facts For Kids?
Lemmings do not hibernate during the winter season but instead, remain heavily active to find food by burrowing through the snow. They forage through the snow to find berries, roots, lichens, shoots, and bulbs.
Their incisors are taller than their other teeth which allows them to chew on stronger things and eat them.
They generally live in large tunnel systems that have been built beneath the snow to protect themselves from predators.
Their burrows even have rest areas, toilet areas, and even nesting rooms. Their nests are made out of grasses, feathers, and muskox wool.
However, during the spring season, they live in mountain heaths or in forests which is the breeding season for them, and return to the tundra in the autumn.
Lemmings tend to exhibit both diurnal and nocturnal behaviors. This is why they are known to be active through both the day and the night. They are considered to be a very active species of rodents.
Lemmings are now subject to an extremely popular source of misconception that they are driven to commit mass suicide when they migrate by jumping off the clips during the change of seasons.
It is definitely not mass suicide but the death of the millions of lemmings is a result of their biological behavior and the surrounding environment.
The unexplained fluctuation in the population of Norwegian lemmings gave rise to the thought of popular misconception that they commit mass suicide. This has been the case after the portrayal of this particular behavior in the Walt Disney documentary White Wilderness in 1958.
However, why the lemming population fluctuates with such great variance roughly every four years is still not known.
What Are Some Fun Lemmings Facts For Kids?
Even though have sharp incisors and long fur, they seem to appear really cute. This is why they are even kept as pets by several people.
One of the most interesting Lemmings facts for kids is that lemmings tend to make loud noises when they notice predators but they usually communicate with other lemmings using scent marking techniques. This is how they talk to their associates and can also squeak talk to them.
A lemming is about 100-135 mm in length which means a small fully grown-up mouse has a size of just 8% of a lemming.
An ordinary lemming can run up to 3 mph and collared lemmings can run up to 5 mph.
Lemmings’ behaviors are marked to be different from other species of rodents since they behave aggressively in front of predators and also in front of human observers.
Some pieces of evidence suggest that the predator’s population is also closely involved with that of the fluctuating population of the lemmings.
Lemmings can eat plant or plant-based foods. This is due to the fact that they are herbivores.
Even when their diet is not that nutritious, they eat a lot of food to sustain themselves. They eat a variety of things including shoots, berries, grass, leaves, roots, and others. They don’t eat a lot of fruits because their bodies can’t process glucose.
These species are often eaten by several other animals. Their predators include foxes, owls, and wolves which tend to feed on them.
There are about 20 different types of lemmings which are largely classified based on the area they live in and some other habits.
The various types of lemmings include the Norway lemming, Wood Lemming, Steppe Lemming, Arctic Lemming, North American Brown Lemming, Northern Collared Lemming, Siberian Brown Lemming, Southern Bog Lemming, Muskrat, Bank Vole, Tundra Vole, Meadow Vole, Woodland Vole, Singing Vole, Ungava Collared Lemming, Red Tree Vole, Wrangel Lemming, Yellow Steppe Lemming, Richardson’s Collared Lemming, Amur Lemming.