Siberian Lemming: description, reproduction, nutrition

News and Society

Lemmings are small rodents that live inforest tundra and tundra of North America and Eurasia. There are several species of these animals. Thus, Siberian lemmings are common in Kamchatka and in many Arctic islands, along the tundra of the Arctic.

In this article we learn the details of these animals: what they eat, how they look, live and reproduce.

Siberian Lemming


This lemming lives in the tundra of Eurasia from the interfluveNorthern Dvina and Onega to the lower reaches of the Kolyma. Also inhabits such islands as White, Vaigach, Novosibirsk, Wrangel. Basically, the southern border of the range coincides with the northern part of the forest-tundra. Isolated individual populations were recorded in the swampy taiga of the Kolyma Lowland.

Geographic variability

It should be noted that the continental forms notedreduction in size depending on the direction. Thus, lemming in the tundra in the west lives the largest, decreases in the east. In this case, brownish-ohrist shades are replaced in color by black tones that spread to the cheeks, sides, and also the lower part of the trunk, while the dark dorsal stripe disappears. Winter coloring is gray and brightens. In the animals of the Novosibirsk islands it is practically pure white. It should be noted that the island forms are much larger than the continental ones.

lemming photo


Lemming is an animal that is ashort-tailed small rodent: the length of its body - up to 18 cm, and the tail - up to 17 mm. It reaches a weight of 130 g, while males are heavier than females by 10%. The general tone of the animal is reddish-yellow with a small admixture of brownish and gray tones. On the ridge from the nose to the tail is basically a thin black strip. Boka and cheeks of a bright rusty shade; pale-belly belly, periodically with an admixture of yellow color. In the field of the auricles and eyes there are dark fuzzy bands.

On the rump, a black spot is characteristic of animals withabout. Wrangel and the Novosibirsk Islands. Winter fur is duller and lighter than summer, periodically almost white, with a thin strip on the back of a light brown hue. The continental subspecies are somewhat smaller than the continental subspecies; the gradual disappearance of the strip and the decrease in size is observed in the eastern direction. The number of chromosomes is 50.


The Siberian lemming is very prolific.So, the female sways from 3 to 5 cubs 6 times a year. Periodically, they multiply simply in huge numbers. In this case, there is a lack of food, after which the animals make mass migrations, while moving in a straight line, like locusts, and devouring everything that they are able to gnaw.

lemming in the tundra

What do lemmings eat?

They mostly eat sedges, sometimestwigs of bushes. They also eat berries, insects, and bite deer horns, which were dropped by animals earlier. If we find out what the lemmings eat in winter, then it is worth noting that sometimes they gnaw the moss and moss on the areas of about a meter and a half. When the snow is compacted, they often come to the surface of the earth.


Together with the narrow skull and ungulatelemmings refers to the most common species of tundra rodents. The largest number reaches in the polygonal, kochkarnoy and flat tundra with a well developed sedge-moss cover. There is a lemming, a photo of which is presented in this article, in the valleys of lakes and rivers, in the low-mountain and foothill sedge-shrub tundra, in wetlands. Penetrates through the swamps into the forest zone.

Obligatory conditions for the dwelling of an animalis the availability of feed and convenient places for construction of holes (peat and ground mounds, moss and sphagnum pillows). In the polygonal tundra (with a microrelief in the form of large polygons that are broken by frost cracks), lemmings (the photo of the animal can be seen in this article) live in the peat layer cracks, while using them for rapid movement.

than eat lemmings

A characteristic feature of the way of life of animals isdwelling under the snow most of the year. They are attached in winter to various sites with a snow cover of 0.5-1 m: creek channels, river banks, tundra drying up lakes, and also marshy lowlands. Pave the way under the snow, build ball-shaped nests from various plant rags and dig snow cameras. In winter Siberian lemmings are dull.

During the melting snow water floods settlementsanimals, and they move to thawed patches, and then into summer habitats. There on small elevations simple burrows are digging. They also occupy various natural shelters. Surface moves are laid to the aft portions. In adult females, during the snowless period, territoriality is well pronounced; Young animals and adult males roam the territory quite randomly, lingering in various temporary shelters.

Number of

It should be noted that the number of animals is veryit changes greatly: sometimes they practically can not be met, periodically (every 5 years) animals scurry around everywhere, they are not at all afraid of man, and they are quite aggressive. In these years, the number of hoofed lemmings increases in the same places, while the number of red vole in the forests.

lemming animal

Siberian lemming at this time inundates the mountainvalleys and villages, sometimes trying to swim the bays and rivers and as a result, massively perishes. With a large number of rodents colonies do not settle and each other are aggressive. Migrations can look like organized movements, although each lemming actually moves on its own, and only external obstacles sometimes force them to come together.

Comments (0)
Add a comment