If you’re just curious or doing research for an assignment, this article lists facts about Arctic foxes.
The scientific name for the arctic fox is Vulpes Lagopus. The term “lagopus” means “hare footed.” The arctic fox got this name for the appearance of their feet being very similar to that of arctic hares.
According to Finnish folklore, the Northern lights are created by the tails of arctic foxes sweeping snow into the night sky!
Let’s look at 10 interesting facts about arctic foxes.
10 Facts About Arctic Foxes
10 Facts About Arctic Foxes – Physical Characteristics
- Arctic foxes have a stout body with short, rounded features, and a thick, long coat of fur that ranges from white to gray, to a bluish coloration.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – Arctic Fox Size
2. The arctic fox’s body range from 18-25 inches in length and 10-12 inches in height. Their thick, fluffy tail adds an extra 12 inches of length to their overall measurements.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – Arctic Fox Adaptations
3. Arctic foxes have some of the best insulation in the world. Their fur has multiple layers, and they are the only canine in the world to have fur that covers their feet, which acts much like a snowshoe for humans.
4. What is special about the Arctic foxes fur? The gene pool of arctic foxes has two distinct fur morphologies; white and blue.
The white morph is genetically recessive to the blue, but it is the most common morph in the entire known arctic fox population. The white morphology codes for foxes to have a white coat in winter and a brownish coat in the summer; this is an extremely helpful camouflage for their environment.
The blue morphology is quite rare and codes for the foxes to have a coat that ranges from a dusty blue to brown coloration. The farther north the population of arctic foxes is, the more common one will find the white morphology.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – Arctic Fox Lifespan
5. Arctic foxes typically only live 3-5 years in the wild but have been known to live up to 10-14 years in captivity.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – Habitat
6. Arctic foxes are found throughout the polar regions of the world, predominantly in the tundra biomes of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. They are a native mammal of Iceland, but have also been found in Greenland, and even on islands of sea ice in the bitterly cold region surrounding the North Pole.
Depending on the resources available, some Arctic foxes are considered migratory nomads who make prolonged trips throughout the Arctic region of the world, some of these migrations have been documented to be over hundreds of miles long. During the summer, many arctic foxes set up vast territories in certain regions to best obtain their prey populations.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – What Does an Arctic Fox Eat?
7. The diet of arctic foxes is predominantly carnivorous, depending mostly on small rodent populations, such as lemmings, voles, and hares. They also consume a large number of small birds, eggs, and fish.
They have been known to scavenge off of the carrion left behind by much larger predators.
If food is scarce, Arctic foxes have also been known to feed on vegetation and seaweed. But, to avoid food scarcity, Arctic foxes will typically store food throughout the summer, and build up their fat reserves during the fall to endure the long winters of the Arctic tundra.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – Reproductive & Mating Behavior
8. During the winter, most foxes live a solitary life. But, once spring rolls around and the mating season begins, arctic foxes tend to congregate into small communities in order to reproduce and roam their territories in search of food to feed themselves, their pups, and to store for the long winter ahead of them.
9. Arctic foxes are predominantly monogamous and begin mating in late winter to early spring, with gestation lasting 52 days. Arctic foxes typically build their breeding dens in coastal regions, with dens typically extending 5-13 feet underground. Litters have anywhere from 6-14 pups, with each pup being born with a thick, velvet-like coating of rich brown fur. Their fur will grow into a lighter color after reaching around 2 ½ -3 weeks of age. By 3 months of age, the pups are mature enough to leave the den to strike out on their own.
Facts About Arctic Foxes – Conservation
10. While overall, the species is considered of Least Concern, certain populations are critically endangered due to several reasons. European populations were nearly hunted to extinction due to the fur trade, and protections were implemented in the mid-20th century to counterbalance the severe loss of populations, but their numbers have struggled to increase despite these protections.
Despite being considered of Least Concern, Arctic fox populations still face many challenges. As the globe continues to warm, the loss of sea ice greatly impedes the migratory behaviors of these foxes, cutting back on their ability to hunt and gather food to survive Arctic winters. Likewise, climate change has led to a northward migration of red fox populations, which has resulted in Arctic foxes and red foxes competing more heavily with each other for resources, which negatively impacts both species.