By: Liz Carino
By: Liz Carino
With their playful nature, once encountered, the Arctic fox instantly gains popularity with guests. Arctic foxes have such a cheeky personality that they are also known as the “clowns of the tundra” – as our past guests and Expedition Leaders on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari can attest!
What makes this small, Northern animal so remarkable? Here are 10 fun facts about Arctic fox:
1. Arctic foxes (Vulpes Lagopus) are extremely well-adapted to the harsh, frigid temperatures of the Arctic.
Their thick fur enables them to maintain a consistent body temperature and provides insulation. Plus, their short legs, short muzzle and rounded ears all reduce the amount of surface area for heat loss, and their feet are covered in fur.
2. The Arctic fox has the warmest pelt of any animal found in the Arctic, enduring temperatures as low as -70 °C.
Once conditions get too cold, its metabolism increases to provide warmth.
3. The Arctic fox is a member of the canidae family of animals.
They are related to other foxes, wolves and dogs.
4. They are primarily solitary animals living on the Arctic tundra and pack ice.
5. Arctic Fox does not hibernate and their fur changes colours with the seasons.
In the summer the Arctic fox has a brown or great coat with a lighter belly. It then turns into a thick white one in the winter. It is the only canid that changes the colour of its coat, allowing it to camouflage with the snow and ice in the winter and rocks and plants in the summer.
6. About the size of a large domestic cat, the Arctic fox is the smallest wild canid found in Canada.
Females tend to be smaller than males, and their bushy tails make up 30-35% of their total length.
7. Arctic foxes are well-known for their hunting style.
They are carnivores and scavengers, and they hunt rodents, birds and even fish. In winter, prey can be scarce, prompting Arctic foxes to bring out their cheeky sides. They are known to follow in the footsteps of the Arctic’s premier predator, the polar bear, and feed on leftover scraps.
8. Arctic foxes are monogamous animals.
They mate for life!
9. Females give birth in the spring.
They have large litters of 5-8 pups! Parents raise the pups together during the summer.
10. They live in burrows, with extensive tunnel systems.
But in a blizzard they are known to tunnel into the snow to create shelter.
Want to see them this year?
View them in October and November on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari.
You can also see them in March on Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari.