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Climate change stifling lemmings

Warmer winter temperatures are altering the snowpack, squelching the rodents’ population booms

11:53am, November 5, 2008

Packs of Norway lemmings aren’t necessarily headed off a cliff, but climate change in a part of that country certainly seems to have stifled population spikes of the oft-prolific creature in recent decades.

Lemmings are famed for their population booms: Occasionally, across small regions, their numbers can briefly swell a hundredfold. Dramatic increases of the rodents typically occur every three to five years, says Nils Christian Stenseth, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Oslo in Norway.

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