Evaluation of a Technique to Trap Lemmings Under the Snow

  • Frédéric Bilodeau
  • Alice J. Kenney
  • B. Scott Gilbert
  • Elizabeth Hofer
  • Gilles Gauthier
  • Donald G. Reid
  • Dominique Berteaux
  • Charles J. Krebs
Keywords: lemmings, trapping, subnivean temperature, snow, Dicrostonyx, Lemmus


We attempted to live trap lemmings under the snow in their preferred winter habitat at two sites in the Canadian Arctic using chimney-like boxes. Lemmings used the boxes during winter, but we had very low trapping success in April and May. During spring trapping, in contrast to most of the winter, subnivean temperatures became colder than ambient air temperatures. We hypothesize that our low success in spring resulted from lemmings’ leaving the deeper snow areas where our boxes were located and moving to shallower snow or exposed tundra. We suggest that the trapping boxes could be successful if trapping occurred earlier during winter.