Steppe lemming

Lagurus lagurus


Lagurus lagurus (Pallas, 1773), Kazakhstan.



Head and body length 3.5-5.5 in (9-14 cm); weight 0.5-1 oz (10-25 g). Upperparts light gray to cinnamon gray, underparts whitish. Black stripe along spine.


Central Asian steppes from the Ukraine to China. HABITAT

Open grassland steppe, semi-deserts, and cultivated fields.


Mainly nocturnal, but occasionally diurnal also. It lives in burrow systems that can join up to cover large areas. Populations fluctuate and they can be exceedingly numerous in some years.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET Seeds, foliage, shoots, and roots.


They can produce up to five litters of young each year, with as many as 12 young in a litter. Pregnancy lasts around 20 days and the young are reproductive by 30-45 days old.


Not threatened.


A serious pest of crops and grazing pastures when populations are high. ♦

Common name / Scientific name

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior



Conservation status

White-footed vole Arborimus albipes

Southern red-backed vole Clethrionomys gapperi

Northern collared lemming Dicrostonyx groenlandicus

Sagebrush vole Lemmiscus curtatus

Pelage Is long, fine, dark brown. Underparts are white, gray, or pinkish buff. Tail Is long, ears are small, feet are long. Head and body length 3.7-4.3 in (9.511 cm), tail length 2.3-3.4 in (68.7 cm), weight 0.8-0.9 oz (25-26 g).

Dense, long, soft fur that is dark gray above and chestnut brown stripe running along back from head to tail. Face and sides are yellowish brown, underparts are dark slate gray to almost white. Head and body length 2.7-4.4 in (7-11.2 cm), tail length 0.9-3.4 in (2.5-6 cm).

Short, stocky, heavy year-round coat that varies seasonally in color. Light to dark gray with buffy to reddish brown tone. Dark lines run down back and on sides of head. Winter coat is white. Head and body length 3.9-6.1 in (10-15.7 cm), tail length 0.4-0.8 in (1-2 cm), weight 1-4 oz (30-112 g).

Close to small streams and are often found near fallen trees from sea level to over 3,280 ft (1,000 m). Most abundant in deciduous forest. Reproduce throughout the year, mean litter size is three. Arboreal, nocturnal.

Pacific coastal zone south of Columbia River, from western Oregon to extreme northwestern California, United States.

Roots, wide variety of leaves from those of grasses to deciduous trees, mosses, and pollen.

Cool, mossy, and rocky boreal Most of Canada from Leaf petioles, young forests in both dry and moist northern British areas, as well as tundra and bogs. Active during day and night. Construct spherical nests.

Tundra. Is generally terrestrial, but has been seen in the water. Burrows lead to nests that are protected by males.

Pale gray and buff dorsally, ventral side Areas largely dominated by is silver, white, and buff. Fur is dense, long, and soft. Body is stocky with short tail, stout claws, and small ears. Head and body length 3.5-5.1 in (9-13 cm), tail length 0.6-1.2 in (1.6-3 cm).

bunch grasses and sagebrush, including semiarid prairies, brushy canyons, and rolling hills with loose soil. Active throughout day and year. Occur in pairs or are solitary.

Columbia to Labrador, excluding Newfoundland; south in the Appalachians to northern Georgia, in the Great Plains to northern Iowa, and in the Rockies to central New Mexico and east-central Arizona, United States.

Northern Greenland and Queen Elizabeth Islands, south to Baffin and Southampton islands and northeastern District of Keewatin, Canada.

Southern Alberta and southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada, south to northwestern Colorado and east-central California, including the Columbia Basin of interior Oregon and Washington, United States.

shoots, fruits, berries, bark, roots, lichens, fungi, and insects.

Willow buds, fruits, flowers, grasses, and twigs.

Data Deficient

Not threatened

Not threatened

Flower and fleshy parts of vegetation.

Not threatened


Common name / Scientific name

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior



Conservation status

Rock vole

Microtus chrotorrhinus

Meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus

Woodland vole Microtus pinetorum

Round-tailed muskrat Neofiber alleni

Western heather vole Phenacomys intermedius

Northern bog lemming Synaptomys borealis

Ventral color Is grayish brown on the back, face Is orange, rich yellow around the nose. Winter coat Is longer and glossier. Moderately large with sparsely haired tail. Underparts are slightly paler, ears are large. Head and body length 5.5-7.3 in (14-18.5 cm), weight 1-1.7 oz (30-48 g).

Dorsal surface is dark blackish brown to dark reddish brown with coarse black hairs. Ventral surface is gray or white. Head and body length 5-7.7 in (12.819.5 cm), tail is about 40% of body length.

Dorsal varies from light to dark brown, ventral side is whitish or silvery. Head and body length 3.2-4.7 in (8.3-12 cm), tail length 0.6-1.6 in (1.5-4 cm).

Outer fur is composed of coarse guard hairs and is dark brown and glossy in color. Undercoat is dense, becoming gray at base. Tail is round. Head and body length 15-21 in (38.1-54.6 cm).

Fur is long, soft, and varies geographically. Dorsal fur is generally brown to grayish, ventral side is gray. Feet are white to gray, ears are orange. Head and body length 5-5.5 in (13-14 cm), weight 1-1.7 oz (30-50 g).

Among mossy rocks and boulders in forests with moderately open canopies and a rich herbaceous under story. Primarily diurnal, good nest builder. Low survival rate of young.

Meadows, lowland fields, grassy marshes, and along rivers and lakes. Active during all times of day. Females are territorial. Promiscuous.

Deciduous forests in eastern North America. Form monogamous pairs. One to 13 offspring per litter

Wet moist areas on mainland and islands. Construct dome-shaped lodges. Nocturnal.

In stands of spruce, lodge-pole pine, aspen, and grassy meadows in montane forest, subalpine, and alpine tundra. Active year round, does not hibernate. Solitary, except during breeding season.

Stocky build with short legs and long tail. Ears are small, nose is blunt. Pelage is coarse and ruffled, and varies from grayish brown to chestnut brown, underside is pale gray. Tail is brown above and white below. Head and body length 4.85.5 in (12.2-14 cm), tail length 0.7-1 in (2-2.7 cm), weight 0.9-1.2 oz (27-35 g).

In burrows among sedges and grasses where water level is high. Breeding season is from May to August, litters contain two to eight individuals.

Southern Labrador southwest through southern Quebec and Ontario, Canada, to northeastern Minnesota, United States; south in Appalachian Mountains to eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, United States.

From central Alaska to the Atlantic Coast. South of the Canadian border, western limit is the Rocky Mountains. Found as far south as New Mexico and Georgia, United States.

Eastern U.S. shoreline from southern Maine to northern Florida, west to central Wiscons in and eastern Texas.

Most of peninsular Florida to extreme southeastern Georgia, United States.

Mainly bunchberry.

Not threatened

Fresh grass, sedges, and herbs, as well as a variety of seeds and grains.

Tubers, roots, seeds, leaves, and nuts, as well as berries and insects.

Aquatic grasses as well as roots, stems, and seeds.

Southwestern British Columbia and adjacent Alberta, Canada, south to northern New Mexico, central Utah, and northern California, United States; disjunct populations in east-central California and western Nevada.

Alaska to northern Washington, United States, eastwards across much of interior Canada to Labrador; disjunct range segment from Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec, to central New Hampshire, United States.

Leaves and fruits of willows, myrtle blueberry, snowberry, bog birch, kinnikinnik (bearberry) in the summer months. The rest of the year, they feed on bark and buds of willow, birch, and blueberry trees.

Sedges and grasses.

Not threatened

Not threatened

Lower Risk/Near Threatened

Not threatened

Not threatened

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