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Mice Rats and Relatives: Muridae

Norway Lemming (lemmus Lemmus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Norway lemmings have brown to black fur. Adult head and body length is 3 to 7 inches (8 to 17.5 centimeters) and weight is 0.5 to 4.5 ounces (20 to 130 grams).


Geographic range: They are found in Scandinavia (the northern European region of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands).


Habitat: These lemmings inhabit open tundra and subarctic bog areas.


Diet: Their diet consists of mosses, lichens (LIE-kenz), bark, and some grasses.

Norway lemmings eat mosses, lichens, bark, and some grasses. (© Tom McHugh/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Norway lemmings are mostly nocturnal (active at night). They travel long distances in mass migrations, and are active year-round, remaining mostly beneath snow cover. The gestation period is about sixteen days, with a litter of up to thirteen young and up to six litters produced each year.


Norway lemmings and people: Scandinavian people have made lemmings a popular animal in their myths and legends.


Conservation status: Norway lemmings are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsMice Rats and Relatives: Muridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Muskrat (ondatra Zibethicus): Species Accounts, Norway Lemming (lemmus Lemmus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MICE RATS RELATIVES AND PEOPLE, CON