Finland’s northernmost province of Lapland is currently witnessing the largest Norway lemming (Lemmus lemmus “During the weekend plenty of lemmings were seen on the streets of the Norwegian towns of Alta and Bugøynes”, explains professor Heikki Henttonen from the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).
”Nevertheless, this present migration is not on the same scale as those witnessed in the 1970s, when masses of lemmings were seen as far south as in Rovaniemi and Kuusamo.”
According to Henttonen, lemmings migrate each year from the moist summer regions to drier wintering areas. At times the lemming population multiplies nearly exponentially, which forces the rodent to seek living space from more and more farflung areas.
The migration of the species continues until mid-October, when lemmings will be seen in Lapland nearly everywhere. The phenomenon is expected to subside next year, coinciding with the collapse of the vole population.