The Arctic fox is a small fox that’s native to the Arctic regions. It has a large and fluffy tail and a body length of 46 to 68 cm.
The Arctic fox eats small creatures such as lemmings, voles, ringed seal pups, fish, waterfowl, and seabirds, and also carrion, berries, seaweed, and insects. They forms monogamous pairs during the breeding season.
Arctic Fox Facts for Kids
- Arctic foxes are omnivorous
- They are about the size of a cat
- They have an average life span of 3 – 4 years
- Arctic foxes will eat just about anything.
- They are about 10-12 inches high
- Females are smaller than males
The scientific the Arctic fox is Vulpes Lagopus
Appearance and Behavior
Arctic foxes live in maze-like dens that face southward to best harness the sun’s heat. They preserve their ancestors’ burrowing efforts instead of building new complexes every year.
Ninety-nine percent of Arctic foxes have the white color morph, and one percent have the blue color morph.
Because of these color changes, they help them to camouflage themselves in their surroundings and avoid predators.
They have long tails, fur-covered paws, thick ears, short muzzles, and multilayer pelage that help them survive freezing environments.
They can independently regulate their body temperature by controlling their paws and cores, making them ideal for ice walking.
Arctic foxes curl up tightly to prevent heat loss and also get out of the wind and reside in their dens. They build up their fat reserves in the autumn, providing greater insulation during the winter.
The Arctic fox is found in tundra and pack ice habitats in northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America. And was introduced into the Aleutian Islands southwest of Alaska but is currently being eradicated in conservation efforts to preserve the local bird population.
The color of the arctic fox’s coat determines where it is most likely to be found.
Arctic foxes will eat anything they can find, and here is a list of some of the things they eat
- Ringed seal pups
- Snow geese eggs
They have a super sense of smell and can smell a seal from over a mile away. They can also hear lemmings burrowing below ground.
They hunt rodents and polar bears in the summer and autumn.
They survive harsh winters and food scarcity by either hoarding food or storing body fat. They can eat goose eggs for up to a year after caching them.
Predators and Threats
Arctic foxes are being threatened by climate change and offshore drilling. Their lighter coats are also becoming a liability due to rapidly melting ice, and they are losing ground to the larger red fox.
Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan
They build large dens in frost-free, slightly raised ground, which is often in eskers, long ridges of sedimentary material deposited in formerly glaciated regions.
Arctic foxes gather for the mating season between late February and May. In food-insecure populations, they form monogamous pairs, while in abundant communities, they form complex social structures.
The white fox’s reproduction rates reflect the lemming population density, and the coastal fox has up to 5 pups every year.
Breeding usually occurs between April and May. Gestation is quick enough and lasts about 52 days.
Pups are born with dark fur and nurse for 45 days. They grow up quickly and are sexually mature after only 9 months.
Climate change is rapidly damaging Arctic fox habitats, and the Scandinavian population is already Endangered.