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Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox

One of the most beautiful and well-loved arctic creatures

What you need to know about the Arctic Fox

Our Expert Says… "Arctic foxes are real survivalists. At the end of the summer, when there is plenty of food, they will 'surplus kill' to create food stores for winter. A favorite is to take young auks that have been injured leaping out of their nests, collecting them in numbers to help out in the lean times to come."

The Arctic fox (sometimes called the polar fox or snow fox) is one of the most well-known of the Arctic mammals.

A remarkable survivor, the Arctic fox is superbly adapted to its environment. Able to retain heat thanks to its highly insulative coat, its fur has the best insulation qualities of any mammal.

As well as its remarkable coat, the Arctic fox has fur covering its feet pads to avoid these becoming a site for heat loss, the only member of the canid or dog family to have this feature. It’s compact body shape also gives it a low surface area to volume ratio compared to similar mammals from warmer climates.

Other key adaptations are a keen sense of smell and acute hearing. Arctic foxes can hear lemmings burrowing even under 5” of snow cover, and they have been observed sniffing out carcasses left by polar bears up to 25 miles away in optimum conditions. When they catch more food than they require they will bury it in caches, remembering their location for several months and using them as a vital winter resource when necessary.

The Arctic fox molts its iconic white winter fur in spring, replacing it with a brown coat in the summer. There is also a genetic variation that has a dark-brown or blue-gray coat that it keeps all year round.

Arctic foxes are not thought to be under threat at the moment, and the global population is estimated to be several hundred thousand strong. However, some localized populations may be facing increased challenges from climate change. Lesser snowfall reducing the advantage of the arctic fox’s white winter camouflage, allowing increased competition from the more dominant red fox. The population in Norway, Sweden, and Finland is thought to be less than 200 adults, and is therefore severely endangered, despite being protected from hunting there for many years.

Arctic Fox: Interesting facts

The Arctic fox does not need to shiver to increase body heat until the outside temperature drops below -70C (-94F)!

Arctic Fox: Pictures & Videos

Arctic Fox

Spots where the Arctic Fox can be observed

Our trips to spot the Arctic Fox

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