Collared Lemming

These small-scale members of the Arctic family not only design their living quarters to perfection, they're the only polar rodent to custom-fit their fur color to the snowfall

Antarctic Peninsula

Region: Arctic

Destinations: Greenland

Name: Collared Lemming (Dicrostonyx). Note – “Collared Lemming” is a genus describing eight different species.

Length: 6 to 15 cm, depending on species.

Weight: Around 40 grams, depending on species.

Location: Arctic and subarctic regions.

Conservation status: Depends on species.

Diet: Plants, roots, berries, lichens, seeds.

Appearance: Short-tail rodent somewhat similar to hamsters. Brown or brown-grey coats during the summer, turning white in the winter. Dark stripe down the back.

How do Collared Lemmings feed?

Aside from burrowing, Collared Lemmings spend their winters hunting for plant matter that has been buried by the snow.

Are Collared Lemmings social?

Collared Lemmings are generally solitary animals, keeping their own foraging territories and burrow systems.

How fast do Collared Lemmings run?

Collared Lemmings can run at speeds of up to 5 km per hour.

What are Collared Lemmings birthing rituals like?

Collared Lemmings are busy little breeders, the females giving birth to as many as eight babies as rapidly as every five weeks during the breeding season, which can last from January through September. The pregnancy lasts anywhere from sixteen days to a month.

How long do Collared Lemmings live?

Collared Lemmings live for about 2 years.

Do Collared Lemmings have any natural predators?

Collared Lemmings are prey for a variety of animals including Owls, Wolves, Arctic Foxes, and Weasels.

7 Cool Collared Lemming Facts

  • Collared Lemmings are the only rodent found in North America that turns white during the winter.
  • Collared Lemmings are made up of the species:
      1. Dicrostonyx groenlandicus - Northern Collared Lemming
      2. Dicrostonyx hudsonius - Ungava Collared Lemming
      3. Dicrostonyx nelsoni - Nelson's Collared Lemming
      4. Dicrostonyx nunatakensis - Ogilvie Mountains Collared Lemming
      5. Dicrostonyx richardsoni - Richardson's Collared Lemming
      6. Dicrostonyx torquatus - Arctic Lemming
      7. Dicrostonyx unalascensis - Unalaska Collared Lemming
      8. Dicrostonyx vinogradovi - Wrangel Lemming
  • Collared Lemming’s snow burrows are created with comfort in mind – they have room dedicated to sleeping, bathrooms, and nest rooms.
  • The birth rates of some predator animals, like the Snowy Owl, depend on how many Collared Lemmings are available in the area during the breeding season.
  • The Ogilvie Mountains Collared Lemming is one of only 5 mammals to be found solely in Canada.
  • Collared Lemmings’ short ears and tail help them conserve heat in the winter by exposing less surface area to the cold.
  • Collared Lemmings’ front teeth never stop growing.

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