Today our blog post will challenge your concept of lemmings. Suicidal little blighters, right? A popular conception furthered by a popular video game in the 1990s. Lemmings are mindless creatures that will end their life for no real reason. Perhaps their veg based diet was just too much, so off the mountain tops they go! Anyway, to begin with we should state the following; lemmings are small rodents a bit like a guinea pig, which aren’t like real pigs as they have lots of fur. They are subniveal animals (they live under/in snow). They’re usually about 10-15cm long and are herbivores, particularly enjoying vegetarian pizza and veggy sausages. They behave unlike most rodents as they’re not inconspicuous in their environment. Indeed, they’re quite happy to take predators head on. They’ve even been known to get aggressive with naturists observing them. Moody little gits!
So where did all this kamikaze stuff come from? Well it seems lemmings have always been open to wild confabulations. In the 1530s geographer Zeigler of Strasbourg postulated lemmings spontaneously generated into existence up in the clouds and then fell to Earth. To add to their mystique then came the mass suicide notion, which in part was spread by the Disney comic “The Lemming with the Locket” which showcased lemmings hurling themselves merrily off Norwegian cliffs. Disney clearly had a thing against these lively wee beasts, as in 1958 the documentary film White Wilderness (an Oscar winner, no less) actually staged footage of lemmings doing their “thing”. A Canadian corporation did a bit of studying and found that the lemmings were launched off a cliff for the film using a turntable! Er… RSPCA (non-English folk – this is a leading UK animal welfare group)!
Then, of course, there came the video game Lemmings. Here you had to guarantee the safety of the mindless beasts from getting themselves killed. Thusly an image of a suicidal animal came to be. Clearly it’s nonsense, but don’t even think about taking it up with them! They’ll attack you before you can say, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat…” So, what you should have got into your skulls today is the following notion, “You know… lemmings don’t fling themselves off cliffs after all. Huh. That’s awesome! Thanks Professional Moron, can I please send you a cheque for £50?!??!” Yes, dear readers. You can.