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
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.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, in tundra biomes. They are subniveal animals, and together with voles and muskrats, they make up the subfamily Arvicolinae (also known as Microtinae), which forms part of the largest mammal radiation by far, the superfamily Muroidea, which also includes rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils.
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