Arctic fox (pup) - Vulpes Lagopus
Arctic fox (pup) - Vulpes Lagopus

About arctic foxes.

Arctic foxes are white during the winter, with a thick layer of hair that protects them from the cold and that they lose when the winter is over, remaining only a shorter layer of brown and cream colored hair. They also have an excellent body heating system that allows them to stand temperatures down to -70 ºC.


They live in underground dens, normally in the tundra hillsides. These dens can take up to 1 km2 and have dozens of entrances.


These animals have round ears and a quite small snout to reduce heat loss to the maximum. Their paw soles are covered with thick fur to protect them from the snow and prevent them from sinking into it.


An female Arctic fox can have up to 25 pups in one single litter, but they usually have around 14.


Upon arrival of the first winter of the pups, their survival rate is low. Most of them don’t have time to build up their fat reserves enough to survive under such adverse Arctic conditions and they die.


Foxes hunt jumping up and diving down into the snow head first to catch their prey.


An Arctic fox can traverse incredible distances searching for food. There are records of journeys of up to 4,500 km in one single season.


The main enemies of these animals are gluttons (gulo gulo), wolves and eagles.


They have a perfect sense of hearing and smell, capable of detecting prey and food at long distances. However their eyesight is quite poor.


The Arctic fox is the only terrestrial mammal native to Iceland.


They are very solitary animals that only gather with other specimens during the mating and breeding season.


The main threats to this animal are humans, who hunt it for its fur, and the red fox, that, due to global warming, is occupying areas where Arctic foxes used to live.

Arctic fox sitting on rock. By outdoorsman | Shutterstock.com
Arctic fox sitting on rock. By outdoorsman | Shutterstock.com
COMMON NAMECONSERVATION STATUS
Arctic FoxLeast concern
SCIENTIFIC NAMESIZE
Vulpes lagopus41 – 68 cm (16 – 27 in)
FAMILYWEIGHT
Canidae1,4 – 9,4 kg (3.1 – 20.7 lb)
ORDERLIFESPAN
Carnivora3 – 6 years
CLASSGESTATION PERIOD
Mammalia52 days
 POPULATION DIET
This species is commonThey mainly feed on birds and little mammals, like lemmings. They can also steal eggs from birds or eat carrion in case of necessity.
HABITATRANGE
Tundras in the Arctic region of the planet.North of Eurasia and North America, including the islands.
Playful arctic fox cub at Iceland. By Menno Schaefer | Shutterstock.com
Playful arctic fox cub at Iceland. By Menno Schaefer | Shutterstock.com
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