The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is a medium-sized fox that is most commonly found in the Arctic Tundra Biome—occupying much of the Arctic islands. It is all snow white except the black nose and eyes; as a result of which the fox camouflages it in the snowy background. IUCN has listed arctic fox as Least Concern.
Arctic Fox Facts For Kids
What Do Arctic Foxes look Like?
- The arctic fox reaches a head-body length of about 18–26.6 in (45.8–67.5 cm) with a 10–16.7 in (25.5–42.5 cm) long tail.
- They stand 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 in) at the shoulder.
- Males are heavier than the females. Males weigh up 3.2 to 9.4 kg (7.1 to 20.7 lb) while females average 1.4 to 3.2 kg (3.1 to 7.1 lb) in weight.
Where Do Arctic Foxes Live?
- The arctic fox is known to occur in the North America, northern Europe, and northern Asia. The population is mainly found in alpine and arctic tundra, typically in coastal regions.
- Their geographic range includes many regions such as Iceland, Greenland, northern Russia, Svalbard, Hudson Bay, Aleutian Islands, Barents Sea, Bering Sea, and Fennoscandia.
- Arctic foxes are likely to build habitats on pack ice and tundra. It also lives in the boreal forests in Canada. It is also found in the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
- They make habitats at an altitude of 3,000 m (9,800 ft) above sea level.
- The only mammal native to Iceland is Arctic fox.
- They are thought to make burrows in normal circumstances but in blizzard they may build underground tunnels.
Read More: What Do Foxes Eat in the Wild?
How Do they Behave in the Wild?
- Arctic foxes are remarkably strong animals—living in one of the most hostile environments in the world.
- It is able to bear temperature as low as 58°F (-50°C) on a land that lacks trees.
- Thanks to the short nose and muzzle, these foxes can adapt to extreme temperatures.
- The group of arctic foxes is known as skulk or leash.
- It is also known to make dens that have 4 to 12 entrances.
- They move but seasonally largely depend on the availability of food.
- Arctic fox lives in small groups consisting of a male and two females followed by the young.
- During sleep, they cover face with the long bushy tail. This helps them to prevent cold breeze.
How Do they Reproduce?
- A female gives birth to 15 to 20 live young. The number of lemmings in the fox’s diet determines the number of litters.
- The mating occurs in between February and June.
- The male fox brings female and the young the food.
- The weaning period lasts about 2 to 4 weeks.
What Do Arctic Foxes Eat in the Wild?
- Arctic foxes will rely on small mammals (such as hares), marine mammals, fish, rodents, insects, squirrels, eggs, berries, and sea birds. It feeds on almost every human food, alive or dead animals.
- During winter, artic fox preys on ringed seal as well as lemmings and voles.
- Arctic foxes will also follow wolves and polar bear to eat their leftovers.
Read More: Do Foxes Eat Cats?
How Many Arctic Foxes remaining in the Wild?
- IUCN has listed the arctic fox as Least Concern and the animal seems to face serious threats—not even in near future. However we are not sure about the precise numbers in the wild.
- Those living in Scandinavia may become endangered because they may fall victim to hunting or persecution despite being legally protected.
- There are around 200 arctic foxes left in the wild of Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
- One other reason for the decreasing trend in population is that the prey is falling short.
- On the Commander Islands, Russia the total population of arctic foxes is 90.
Learn more: Arctic Fox Facts For Kids