Interesting Information About the Arctic Fox

Region: Arctic

Destinations: Bear Island, Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland

Name: Arctic Fox (a.k.a White Fox, Snow Fox, Polar Fox) (Vulpes lagopus)

Length: 75 to 100 cm (including tail)

Weight: 3 to 8 kg

Location: The Arctic

Conservation status: Least Concern

Appearance: White in winter, brown (brown/white spotted) in summer. About 10% of the population stays dark during winter and is termed “Blue fox”. His type was particularly valuable to the trappers during the trapper period.

What do Arctic Foxes Eat?

Foxes will eat just about anything they can get their paws on. During summers lemmings will often be the main part of their ration, but they’ll also go after birds, eggs, and even seal pups. The fact that their coats change colour the year round means they are always camouflaged and able to sneak up on prey. With its wide (but short) ears an Arctic Fox can hear its prey moving under snow. Once it has located its next meal, the fox will pounce straight up then down right on top of their victim. In the fall they’ll work hard to store up body fat, increasing their weight by up to 50%. During winter, when food becomes much more scarce, the foxes will often follow polar bears around and then scavenge what they can off of a kill once the bear is done.

Do they socialize?

Arctic Foxes are generally independent until they mate, which means their territory has fewer mouths to feed come winter.

How fast can Arctic Foxes move?

Arctic Foxes are quite fleet when they want to be, sprinting up to nearly 50 km per hour.

What are Arctic Fox mating rituals like?

Breeding season occurs during April and May, when foxes will mate in monogamous pairs. The couple will either dig out a new den, or move into a pre-existing one. These dens can often contain a long network of tunnels covering as much as 1000 m2. The pregnancy lasts about 52 days when a litter of 5-10 offspring, called “kits,” are born. Both the mother and the father are present to help raise the young. The kits first emerge from the den about a month after being born, and are weaned off their mother’s milk after a further 4 or 5 weeks.

How long do Arctic Foxes live?

Arctic Foxes generally live from 3 to 6 years.

How many Arctic Foxes are there today?

There isn’t a solid number regarding Arctic Foxes, though they’re estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. Their population fluctuates depending on the availability of food sources, especially the lemming population. However the populations of Finland, Norway, and Sweden is estimated to be only about 120 adults.

Do they have any predators?

Grey Wolves were traditionally the biggest predator Arctic Foxes had to face. But because of global warming the territories of Artic Foxes and Red Foxes are overlapping, causing a new and increasing threat to Artic Foxes. Artic Foxes were a mainstay of fur trappers thanks to their luxuriously warm and beautiful coats.

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