Norway lemming on tundra in Norway


Lemmings are small rodents with an unusual reputation. Contrary to popular belief, lemmings do not commit mass suicide when they migrate. It is a misconception fuelled by the media and video game industries. Having said that, individuals belonging to some species will leave a population once it becomes too big in search of a new home. When that happens, obstacles such as wide rivers and lakes, can be the cause of many fatalities.

Lemming populations also undergo periodic boom and bust cycles. Although lemmings are similar to other rodents, they differ in their bright colours and aggressiveness toward predators. There are at present 18 species within four groups that include the collared and true lemmings. Usually found in or near the Arctic tundra, lemmings are a crucial part of the diet for predators such as the Arctic fox.

Scientific name: Lemmini

Rank: Tribe


The Lemmings can be found in a number of locations including: Arctic, Europe, North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Lemmings distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

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