Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus)
Arctic Fox Paw Prints
The arctic fox lives farther north than any other fox. They are well adapted for the cold harsh weather of the Arctic. The arctic fox can hunt lemming that they can't see beneath the snow, but if the arctic fox can't kill enough to eat, it will settle for leftovers from other animals.
Characteristics and Physical Features of the Arctic Fox
Height: Height at shoulder 10-12 in. (25-30 cm.)
Distinguishing Characteristics: The arctic fox has the warmest fur of any mamma, even warmer than the polar bear and arctic wolf.
Breeding: Mating occurs in early March and early April. Gestation lasts 52 days. Litters average seven pups but may contain as many as 15 pups.
Range: Northern and western Alaska and Canada Northern Canada south to northern Northwest Territories, northeast Alberta, northern Manitoba, northern Quebec, Russia, and Greenland; a few records indicate presence farther south.
Diet: Arctic fox feed primarily on small mammals, including lemmings and tundra voles. Fox denning near rocky cliffs along the seacoast often depend heavily on nesting seabirds such as auklets, puffins, and murres.
Can arctic fox be different colors?
Arctic fox can be either gray-blue or white. The blue coloration is not as common as the white. Young of each color may occur in the same litter.
How do arctic fox stay camouflaged in the summer if they are white?
As summer begins, the arctic fox sheds its white coat for a brown one, perfect cover for summer. The change back to a winter coat occurs in September and October. By November the white winter coat is complete. Foxes of the blue coloring remain dark or charcoal colored all year but become a little lighter in winter.
How do arctic fox find food if there are no birds or lemmings?
Arctic fox are scavengers, and will eat almost anything, including what polar bears have left behind when they have feasted. Also, when food is plentiful they will bury it for later.
How has the arctic fox adapted to the Arctic?
The arctic fox's adaptation to its subzero habitat include a compact body with short legs, short ears, dense fur, and thickly haired foot pads, which insulate against the cold and provide traction on ice.
How do arctic fox use things other animals have made?
Arctic fox sometimes will enlarge ground squirrel burrows with several entrances and use the burrows for dens.
How do arctic fox catch lemmings and small rodents that are under the snow?
Arctic fox walk along on top of the snow listening for the small creatures under the snow. When they hear one they jump up and down to break through the snow with their front paws. Once the snow is broken they can grab their prey.
How do the arctic people benefit from the arctic fox?
Arctic fox have very warm fur that can be used for clothing and can be sold or traded.
Written by Caleb