Southern Bog Lemming, Synaptomys cooperi

The southern bog lemming (Synaptomys cooperi) is native to North America, and its range overlaps with that of the Northern Bog Lemming in southeastern Canada. It prefers a habitat within wetlands, grasslands, and mixed forests in eastern North America. It once held two subspecies, the Kansas and Nebraska, bog lemmings, but these are now extinct.

The southern bog lemming can reach an average body length of 5.1 inches and a weight of around 1.2 ounces. Its body is round with contrastingly short legs and tail. Its fur is nearly grey across the entire body, with the exception of the silver fur that occurs on the underbelly. The small ears are almost completely covered by its fur.

The southern bog lemming is active through the winter, and is a nocturnal species. It will dig burrows within the ground and live in small groups. Young are born in litters between four to six individuals, and each mother can have two or three litters per year, although most of the young will not live past one year. The diet of this lemming consists of green vegetation like grasses, as well as mosses and fungi. Because of this primarily green, the feces of this lemming is green.

Common predators of the southern bog lemming include mustelids, snakes, hawks, and owls. It is thought that habitat loss within wetlands may be decreasing the range of this species. The southern bog lemming appears on the IUCN Red List  with a conservation status of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: Southern bog lemming. Credit: NPS/Wikipedia