Friday, November 8, 2013

The Enchanting Arctic Fox

I find nothing more fascinating than this precious little creature. The arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) is found throughout the tundras of the northern hemispheres. They are quite small, only standing 12 inches (30 cm) at the shoulder.

An arctic fox's brown coat during the summer

Their fur changes color with the seasons: in the winter their coat is white and in the summer it turns brown! Their fur is thick and allows them to keep warm in the cold climate of the north. Their coat also allows them to camouflage to protect them from apex predators such as the polar bear. They also use their long thick tail to keep themselves warm in cold weather.

Artic Fox capturing it's prey
Arctic fox capturing its prey!

Arctic foxes have a unique hunting tactic. Due to the barren landscape of the arctic tundras, the arctic fox usually hunts small animals such as lemmings which burrow beneath the snow. With their keen sense of hearing, they are able to detect their prey beneath the snow and they then leap and pounce on their prey, breaking the layer of snow and capturing their meal.

Baby arctic foxes

Arctic foxes become sexually mature at one year of age. A female's gestation period is around 52 days and she can give birth up to 11 kits (baby foxes). Kits are usually weaned at two months old.

Did you know?  The arctic fox is Iceland's only indigenous land animal.

Arctic fox in Iceland


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