We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Lemmings?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lemmings are small Arctic rodents that, despite their tiny size, are able to survive the harsh winter weather without hibernating. They are most closely related to voles and muskrats, and share much in common with hamsters, and gerbils. There are actually numerous types of lemmings, most with dark brown or light brown and black colored fur. People compare them to chipmunks in appearance.

The average lemming is about one to four ounces (28.34-113.4) in weight. Body length can vary between two to six inches (5.08-15.24 cm). Like hamsters, they have very small tails, almost non-existent. Also like many rodents, they must chew constantly to keep their teeth, which continuously grow, at a reasonable size. Lemmings achieve this teeth-filing through their herbivorous diet, which is composed of grasses, and roots.

Since lemmings do not hibernate, they exhibit food-storing behavior. They save portions of the food they collect during the milder months to consume during winter. They’re also adept at burrowing into snow to get tender young grasses that are buried there, increasing their winter food supply.

Misconceptions about lemmings have existed for numbers of years. They reproduce at extremely quick rates, causing some people in Northern European countries, as far back as the 16th century, to believe lemmings simply were created out of air. While this myth has, of course, faded over time, lemmings have been condemned as stupid because of legends that exist about mass suicides.

Actually, lemmings do not commit mass suicide. When together yearly for migration, which is actually a short time, lemmings do occasionally fall off cliffs or get drowned, but not en masse. The urban legend surrounding lemming suicide arose from a documentary produced by Disney in 1958, White Wilderness. The film depicts an incidence of mass suicide by lemmings.

The filmmakers were completely responsible for the deaths of the lemmings filmed. They captured a few dozen, used “the magic of Disney” to make it seem like more, and then chased the lemmings off the cliff. Presented in “documentary” form, the lemmings mass suicide myth has persisted, despite considerable evidence to the contrary. Fortunately, in most cases, animal rights groups would not permit such an instance of animal cruelty to be perpetuated today.

Despite this bad and undeserved reputation of lemmings, they are rather enjoyed by people. They’re not likely to be encountered in mass groups, since they tend to live in solitary burrows, coming together only for mating and migration. Although not all states or countries permit it, some lemmings are kept as pets, where they’re compared in behavior to hamsters.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.