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Norwegian Lemming

Norwegian Lemming


Norwegian Lemming Baby
Norwegian Lemming Baby

Norwegian Lemming Habits

The Norwegian lemming lives 3,250 feet above sea level in the open, swampy flatlands of the tundra (arctic plain). In summer it burrows under tree stumps, fallen tree trunks, or rocks, where it digs a short tunnel and a small chamber that it lines with grass. In winter the lemming retreats to a meadow, where it builds a dry, rounded nest of grass that is lines with moss and lichen. The nest is located on the ground under the snow or in the branches of a small, snow-covered shrub. In the spring thaw, when its nest in the meadow becomes flooded, the lemming moves to higher ground. In fall the lemming travels from its summer to winter quarters and lives temporarily in woody marshes.

Norwegian Lemming Communication

Norwegian lemmings are thought to communicate using scent marking. They also make squeaking vocalizations.

Norwegian Lemming Breeding

The lemming can produce a litter as large as 12 young every month, year-round. Females from the first and second litters often breed within a few weeks of being born. Lemmings are born blind. But they mature quickly and need only a short period of maternal care. The female nurses the newborn for 16 days, after which they can fend for themselves. When food is scarce, or when lemming are forced to migrate to new feeding areas, their reproductive capacity automatically slows down.

Norwegian Lemming Food & Feeding

The lemming eats the tender shoots of grass and other grass like plants, as well as bark, leaves, berries, moss, and lichens. Even when the ground is covered with snow, the lemming feeds by digging tunnels to reach vegetation that is buried under the snow. The lemming searches for food day and night, alternately feeding and resting every two hours.

Norwegian Lemming Key Facts

              Height: Length: 4-6 in
              Weight: 1-4 oz
             Sexual maturity: Can be as young as 14 days in females
             Mating: Year-round in favorable conditions
             Gestation: 16- 21 days
             Number of young: Up to 12. may have 3 or more litters a years
            Habit: Solitary. Sociable when moving to new feeding areas
            Diet: A variety of plant matter
            Lifespan: Rarely more than 2 years



  • The first known account of the lemmings' mass migration is from the year 1532. At that time people believed that the lemming were committing suicide.
  • One pair of lemming kept in captivity produced eight litters in 167 days.
  • Contrary to popular belief, lemming are not good swimmers. They are easily exhausted and drown within 15 to 25 minutes of entering the water.
  • The lemming's waterproof fur is essential to its survival in the cold northern climate.
  • Females can become pregnant at 14 days of age.

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