Mammals

lemmings

lemmings

Lemmings are the most readily available food for tundra predators, rodents the size of rats belonging to voles, inhabiting these regions of the globe in great numbers.. Among the few species known today, the most common is proper lemming (Favorite favorite), found in northern Asia, in Norway and on the Kola Peninsula. The animal is, with a body length of 15 cm and tail 2 cm, she has a very nice one, abundant and long brown-yellow fur with distinct black spots. They run from the eyes to the back of the head 2 characteristic yellow streaks. The paws and tail are also yellow. In the northern part of the settlement, lemming reaches sea level, in the mountains to the lichen zone. It lives mainly in drier areas, among swamps covering large areas of the tundra. Its lifestyle resembles hamsters and marmots. He lives in depressions of the ground, under the stones, among lichens and mosses, where he digs up branched corridors. He leads an active life both during the day, and at night. It moves relatively fast, though not very cleverly, carefully avoiding water, which he clearly dislikes. In winter, he digs up corridors in the snow 20-30 cm above the ground, through which he reaches the buried plants. These corridors converge in one place, a large nest, lined with coarse grass. This nest is used by the lemming as a winter shelter, in which he spends this dangerous period of the year, without hibernating. Despite their apparently clustered life, lemmings are not social animals: each of them resides in a specific territory, which he defends against other individuals.

Lemmings are herbivores. Their staple food consists of herbs, lichens, dwarf flowers of birches and willows. In some years, as a result of increased reproduction, these rodents appear in huge numbers and cannot be fed by their area. As a rule, almost the entire population dies out then. Sometimes such a starved population begins a mass journey in search of food. Wherever a great herd of lemmings appears, the entire area is soon stripped of all vegetation, and the slopes and pastures have been dug up and completely destroyed. However, wandering lemmings never enter human buildings. In the years of mass outbreaks, lemmings become especially easy prey for predators. Martens reach the areas inhabited by lemmings. ermines and cowards, which during this period only feed on them.

Northern regions of Europe, Another known species lives in Asia and North America - snow leming also called ungulates (Dicrostonyx torquatus), with a body length of 13-14 cm.

In summer, the fur of this rodent is reddish brown, with a lighter red collar around the neck, in winter it becomes white. The auricles, formed from a fold of skin around the ear opening, are completely hidden in the hair. The tail is very short and covered with long hair. The soles of the legs are also densely hairy. The second name of this animal comes from the structure of the feet, whose fingers, third and fourth, they have huge claws transformed into a kind of hoof in the cold period of the year.

Snow lemming inhabits the hills and waters of the tundra, especially the moss tundra with dwarf birch and willow, and the rock tundra, as well as muddy areas. The burrows of this species are located shallow below the surface of the earth, and the nest chamber is often hidden under a hill. In dry places, especially on sandy soils, the burrows are much deeper and more complex. In winter, the lemming digs the sidewalks under the snow, often in a very compact mass, and uses potato dumplings. It feeds on the leaves of dwarf birch and willow, various dwarf shrubs, as well as mushrooms, with bark and shoots of polar shrubs. During the year, the female appears 2 or less 3 harvest, each of which consists of 4-6 young. As with other lemmings, Due to the uneven reproduction rate, the abundance of this species fluctuates strongly, which causes periodic wandering. These wanderings are not so massive, as in the proper lemming.