The Arctic fox, also known at the snow fox or polar fox, is a small fox species native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This creature is well adapted for cold temperatures and can survive freezing cold temperatures as low as 50°C. It is one of the only land mammals that are native to Iceland. Towards the end of the last ice age, they walked across the frozen see and became associated with the isolated North Atlantic Island.
Its thick, deep fur provides an incredible amount of insulation. They have a beautiful white coats, which sometimes turn blue-grey, that acts as winter camouflage. The natural bland of colours allow the animals to blend into the snow and ice. The fur changes as the season do, the summer coat of the Arctic fox turns a brown-grey which again provides camouflage against the rocks and plants.
The average size of a male measures at around 22inches, with a range of 18-27inches. The females are slightly smaller at 20in, ranging from 16-22in. In some regions, male and females don’t differ in size at all, and both sexes have a tail as long as 12inches. Like a cats, this fox´s tail aids in balance but it also acts as warm cover in cold weather.
The average diet for an Arctic fox is mainly made up of rodents, birds and fish. During the winter months, when food is scarce, they will follow polar bears and eat the leftovers of their prey. They will also eat vegetables when available.
As far as reproduction goes, they usually mate between September and May, with litters of about 5-9 being born at one time. Larger litters are not uncommon. These animals mate for life and both mothers and fathers share the responsibility of raising the cubs.
- Their hearing is so good that they can locate the exact position of their prey under the snow.
- Arctic fox lives in the underground burrows that have up to 100 entrances. These burrows are usually very old (hundreds of years) and used by numerous generations of arctic foxes.
- Arctic fox has rounded body, short legs and small ears. These morphological features represent adaptation to the life in extremely cold environment (prevent loss of body heat). Arctic fox curls its bushy tail around the body to warm itself.