Avingak means lemming in Inuktitut.
In Inuit mythology, white lemmings are believed to come from beyond the stars and fall as spiraling snowballs to the earth. It's little wonder where the idea comes from. Their tiny ears, tiny feet and tiny tails hardly register under all that fluffy white fur, giving them a round, well, snowballish look. Their sudden appearance recounted in the myth also seems logical. After all, there are no white lemmings in all of the Arctic during the summer.
Gray, Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service.
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