Was The Lemming Dead?

I was watching the PBS show Nature yesterday

The Snowy Owl was catching lemmings and as it brought them back for the owlets (don’t you just love that word), I notice the lemming had it’s eyes wide open. It didn’t move at all but it looked alive.

Now they also showed the falcon catching Snow Hares and those had their eyes shut but they were also bloody too.

My question is was the lemming alive and the Snowy Owl waits and kills it when it brings it back to the nest? The lemming wasn’t moving, but it’s eyes were open and it looked alive, except for the fact it wasn’t moving.

Of course the lemming wasn’t white, like the Snow Hare so maybe that’s why the Snow Hare appeared bloody. Maybe 'cause the lemming wasn’t white you couldn’t see the blood so good.

Animals don’t close their eyes when they die, heck AFAIK neither do people. So chances are good that the lemming was indeed dead.

Given that the rear talon of an owl can exert a few hundred pounds of pressure, and that you have to wear sturdy leather protection to let a friendly, well trained owl stand on your wrist without unintentionally digging into your flesh, I’m guessing the lemming was killed as a reflex as soon as it was picked up.

Obviously, Nyctea Scandiaca can tell us for sure.