suicidal lemmings

according to doug, lemming suicide is nothing but a myth. however, i had always thought that it was real becuase i vaguely remember a movie seen in grade school actually showing footage of lemmings plummeting into the sea. did i hallucinate this documentary? has anyone else seen something similar? is lemming mass-suicide really a myth?


<<As a final note, the stuff about lemmings jumping off cliffs, of course, is a myth.


That’s it?! You’re just going to casually mention that a common belief is a myth, and give no details whatsoever?

How do you know it’s a myth?

Who is responsible for originating the myth?

At least post a link to a previous article or something. C’mon - even by the relatively low standards of most internet research, that’s pretty bad. As for the film showing the lemmings going over the cliff, I remember reading something about an evil film director who actually caused the lemmings to do that just so he could film it. But I don’t remember where I read it. I’m sure somebody else will have info on this.

ouch, that IS evil!


Try Snopes:

The documentary in question was by Disney!

Well, SORRY!

He asked if any animals committed suicide, and they don’t. The lemmings stuff is old news, and I didn’t figure it needed specific debunking if the question wasn’t specifically about lemmings. Lemmings occasionally have population explosions and migrations, and people have observed occasions where they had gotten crowded into a spot where some of them were falling off cliffs into the water by getting pushed by the ones behind. That’s not suicide - it’s like saying that soccer fans who die from trampling when there’s a panic in the stadium are committing suicide.

YES! that was the movie! wow, those people at snopes know everything. too bad i didn’t think of checking there first.

just what i needed: another reason to dislike disney…


Regarding lemmings as an Urban Legend, see Snopes:

SDSTAFF Doug may have thought this was covered here before. I did a column search and didn’t turn up any hits, but a search in GQ on “lemmings” turns up 18 or so threads, a few examples below:
Do Any Animals Commit Suicide?
Bad habits in the Wild Kingdom
Misinformation from Educational TV shows

Hint: anytime you get a reference to a myth or urban legend, check Snopes first.

Irish: << Hint: anytime you get a reference to a myth or urban legend, check Snopes first. >>

… Unless you’re looking about Mr Ed. In that case, forget snopes, and THINK, people, THINK.

Snopes does run jokes from time to time. This joke, I wish they’d revoke. Cecil’s mail includes at least one or two letters a week about Mr. Ed being a hippopotamus or whatever.

Yep, it’s fake. Uncle Walt pushed the little furballs off the cliff.

O.K., I was being a jerk. Sorry to be so critical - I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Anyway, thanks to all for the follow-up info. My apologies, Doug. I will go jump off a cliff now.

I read that in Bigger Secrets by William Poundstone.

Damn simulposts! I started that response before Karen posted. Darn it. :wink:

CK, you are right that Snopes does have a few joke pages. There is a disclaimer at the bottom that says “this is a joke” or some variation. Unfortunately sometimes the variation is a little murky.

The warning on this page is “Warning: Listen to Mr. Ed.” I presume there’s a sound file, but my computer doesn’t have the setup to run sound. Therefore, it is really hard to tell this is actually a joke and not real.

This is one of the “Lost Legend” files, all of which are jokes by Snopes.

There’s no sound file on that page. “Listen to Mr. Ed”
just refers to the theme song – “A horse is a horse,
of course.”

I get a sound bite when I go to that page. Mr. Ed sez:

“Maybe I didn’t go to college, but I’m not stupid”

YEP! I saw this, its a Disney film I saw lots of times
in grade school - I posted a q about else where…
almost the same as yours
look under the post

“Does any animal besides
humans commit suicide?”

My question is there, and Im thinking I was NOT hallucinating, but ya never know!