- Genus/Species: Alopex lagopus
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
- Location: Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere
Fur that Changes Color
The arctic fox is also known as the snow fox or white fox because it has thick white fur and it spends most of its time in the snow. However, during the summer months, when the snow melts, the arctic fox’s fur changes to brown to blend in with its surroundings. The arctic fox has many features that help it to survive in the freezing Arctic. Its thick winter fur keeps its warm in freezing temperatures, while its shortened snout and tiny round ears help to reduce heat loss. It even has hair on the soles of its feet for protection from the cold ground, and a thick bushy tail that it wraps around itself like a blanket. The arctic fox is found in polar forests where it lives in dens that are actually a network of tunnels, some of which are underground.
The arctic fox is between 3 to 3.5 feet in length, which is about the width of a single bed. Its weight varies from 6-9 pounds, which is about as much as an average new born baby. The arctic fox’s diet consists of birds, eggs, small mammals and fish. It will also eat berries, seaweed, insects and larvae when other prey is scarce. The arctic fox also feeds on lemmings -one of its favorite foods- and voles, among other creatures. These foxes will sometimes scavenge on dead animals and they are often seen following polar bears to feed on the leftovers of the bears. The arctic fox is not endangered worldwide and it is estimated that there are several thousand left in the wild. Because it is a scavenger, it keeps the environment clean by eating dead animals and keeping the rodent population down.
Did You Know?
- Arctic foxes sometimes bury themselves into the snow for protection.
- Arctic foxes use certain sounds to communicate with each other. These can range from a loud yowl if the distance is long, to a high pitched sound which is a warning of danger.
- The arctic fox can run at the speed of around 30 mph. It is also known to skid on ice as well
- Arctic foxes sometimes dig a hole in the ground to store food. This acts like a freezer to keep their food fresh.