The Norway lemming is a small but well-built, animal. It is well-adapted to its freezing cold habitat. The Norway lemming can be found in northern Europe, Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia.
The Norway lemming's skull can hold up to 12 molars and four incisors. The lemming uses its sturdy jaw to eat vegetation including grass and ground plants. Their ears pick up the slightest of sounds; these keen listening skills help the lemming detect lurking predators. Their whiskers help them work their way through dark burrows. Their forefeet are also thickly coated, and have four small claws and one large fifth claw for tunneling under snow. The Norway lemming is a very compact animal. It weighs 1.8 ounces to four ounces.
On the Scandinavian tundra, predators rely on lemmings as a food source because they reproduce quickly. Males reach sexual maturity at one month, whereas females reach it in just 14 days. Their mating season is from spring to autumn. They can have up to 13 young and live for up to two years.
The wood lemming is closely related to the Norway lemming. Both species have the same bold coloring, and both breed through the winter. The wood lemming weighs much less than the Norway lemming at 1.1 ounces. It also has a reddish brown back and feeds more on moss and wood than grass.
With its ability to reproduce so rapidly, you will definitely be hearing more about our furry friends, the Norway lemmings!
The Encyclopedia of Animals