ENVIRONMENT YUKON






Lemmings

Including:

Peary Land Collared Lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus)

Ogilvie Mountains Collared Lemming (Dicrostonyx nunatakensis)

Brown Lemming (Lemnus trimucronatus)

Northern Bog Lemming (Synaptomys borealis)

Order Rodentia
Family

Cricetidae

 

Lemming on hand

YG - T. Jung

Fast Facts

Distribution of lemmings in Yukon
Length 12 cm
Weight 60 g
Lifespan 1 year
Habitat
Predators Snowy Owl, gulls, Wolverines, Arctic Fox, Polar Bear

 

Conservation Status

Yukon Nearctic (S3S4); Ogilvie Mtn (S2); Brown (S5); Northern Bog (S4)

Global Nearctic (G5); Ogilvie Mountain (G1G2); Brown (G5); Bog (G5)
Yukon population estimate: Not determined

 

Description

Behaviour

Lemmings are active both day and night throughout the year.  They live in colonies using scent to mark a small territory and indicate social status.  Distinct calls are used to indicate alarm, threaten others, or courtship and mating.  Lemmings are known for their dramatic population fluctuations as females can breed at 3 weeks of age.  Though the exact reasons for such dramatic population crashes are not entirely understood, we do know it is not due to the myth they commit mass suicide. 

Diet

Grasses, sedges; willow, aspen, birch twigs

Sights and sounds

Burrows in the soil for lemmings

YG - T. Jung  

Lemming front track

lemming hind track

Signs

Burrows in tundra

Tracks

Front:1 cm x 1 cm Hind:1.5 cm x 1 cm

 

Mammals and People

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