Arctic Fox

Celine Chang Period 8 5/9/16

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Arctic Foxes live on treeless coastal areas and islands of the Arctic Ocean (Arctic Fox). They live in both coastal and inland areas of the mainland and on islands. Usually they live on the coasts of isolated countries. (Arctic Fox 3)

Arctic foxes can also live in the tundra, which consists of cold, flat areas that have frozen subsoil and no trees. (Arctic Fox 2) They can also be found in moist dens, where they reproduce their babies in the spring.

Arctic foxes live in the Arctic tundra. They are found in the state of Alaska and the countries of Canada, Russia, and Iceland, among other countries. (Arctic Fox 2)These places are freezing cold, but arctic foxes have the ability to stay warm.

Body Covering

Arctic Foxes tend to have long, thick fur to protect them from extreme cold (Arctic Fox). Their fur is tundra brown in summer, ice white in winter. (Paradox of the Arctic Fox)Their fur is thick with specks of blue on each hair.

In between seasons their fur changes from brown to gray in the summer to white in winter. While they change their fur colors, they can also create camouflage for hunting prey. Their fur color can be as light as gray and a pale blue winter coat (Arctic Fox). In that the same species can occur with winter coats of either white or blue. Most are white, with various censuses estimating the blue fox phase at 2 to 7 percent of the total. (Paradox of the Arctic Fox).

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In the Winter, when food becomes scarce, they fight for food in the summer/autumn and bury it in their homes. They hunt at night because they rely on their hearing and sense of smell.

Arctic Foxes are omnivorous (they eat animals and vegetables) and prey on voles, lemmings, hares, ground squirrels, small birds and birds' eggs. They can also eat fish, carrion, and rodents. If there is no meat Arctic foxes eat fruit, berries and even reindeer droppings! (Arctic Foxes). Arctic Foxes mostly eat voles and lemmings. They can consume whatever organic material it comes across from the leftovers. (Arctic Fox 4)

If the food is plentiful and there are extra food, arctic foxes will carry it to its den and catches it in a crevice or under rocks, or by making its own freezer by digging a hole in the permafrost and storing its food there. (Arctic Fox 4) Arctic foxes will save them for the winter.

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The arctic fox will probably require a reduction of the driving forces behind the red fox expansion in the alpine areas (Arctic Fox).

If the preceding winter was severe and the foxes are malnourished, they may breed later than usual or not at all. The arctic fox is sexually mature by 10 months of age (Arctic Fox 4).

The arctic foxes find warmth in the winter in their burrows or by tunneling in the snow. They can also reproduce in dens or moist shelters. Foxes inhabiting coastal areas have smaller litters than foxes that occupy inland tundra. The newborn pups are tiny and helpless. They are born blind, deaf and toothless with a soft dark-brown undercoat that grows rapidly and turns paler after a few weeks. Arctic foxes are sexually mature by the age of one and typically form monogamous (the state of being married with one being) pairs for life. Mating usually occurs in early Spring (March-April), and typically 6-12 pups are born 52 days later. The maximum puppies is 14 pups.

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One of the Arctic fox’s most remarkable adaptations is its ability to stay warm in freezing Arctic temperatures. This fox has one of the warmest coats of fur of any mammal; they don’t start to shiver until it is -90 degrees Fahrenheit! (Arctic Fox 4)In fact, 70 percent of their coat is a thick and fine undercoat. This means that their fur is thick enough to protect them from the cold winter. They have a quick adaptation to stay warm in the winter, since they have think fur. But in the summer, they need to stay cool, so they shed their fur.

Another adaptation is that arctic foxes are often observed following polar bears and scavenging off the remains of polar bear kills (usually seals). This behavior allows foxes to consume what the bears do not eat; this ensures nothing goes to waste. (Arctic Fox 4). They also gives the fox a learning experience to catch their food, polar bears can give away their hunting abilities. This gives a chance for arctic foxes to hunt down the leftovers.

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The arctic foxes sneak up on prey for food (Arctic Fox). They use their excellent hearing and sense of smell to look for food or preys. When they hear movement under the snow, they leap into the air and pounce on the snow, breaking it and catching their prey. (Arctic Fox 2)The Arctic fox is nomadic, moving from place to place looking for food. In the summer the fox live in family groups made up of a male, one or two females and the kits. The second female is usually a leftover kit from the year before, and doesn’t breed, helping care for the young. A sleeping fox protects its nose from the cold by curling its bushy tail around its body. (Arctic Fox 4)

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Fun Facts

  • Arctic foxes are mammals.
  • They give birth to live young.
  • They have fur on their soles of their paws. (Arctic Fox 2)
  • Arctic foxes are not endangered
  • Groups of arctic foxes are called skulks or leashes. Sometimes arctic foxes will follow polar bears and eat the leftover carrion from the bears' meals. (Arctic Fox 2)
  • the scientific name is Vulpes lagopus or Alopex lagopus
  • weighs only 10 pounds
  • follows polar bears and polar wolves to eat their leftovers(The Family of Foxes)
  • nomadic, they move place to place
  • they can live up to 3-6 years. the average is 4 years
  • Arctic fox that have blue phase fur occur in only about one per cent of inland populations and in from one to five percent of foxes on coastal areas and the arctic islands
  • Global Warming affects the arctic fox population
  • in Norway, Sweden, and Finland there are low populations that never recovered because there were severe overhunting
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Work Cited

Poulson, Thomas L. "Artic Fox." World Book. Vol. 1. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag.

Selas, Vidar, Borge Steinmo Johnsen, and Nina E. Eide. "Arctic fox Vulpes
lagopus den use in relation to altitude and human infrastructure." Gale
Research in Context. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Gale Research. Web. 10 May
2016. <

Simis, Grant. "Paradox of the Arctic Fox." Paradox of the Arctic Fox: n. pag.
Gale Research. Web. 10 May 2016. <

"Arctic Fox." SIRS Discoverer. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 10
May 2016. <

Reid, Mary E. "How Do Wolves Survive in the Arctic." World Book. N.p.: n.p.,
n.d. N. pag. Print.

Evans, Sarah. "Arctic Foxes." SIRS Discoverer. By Evans. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N.
pag. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 11 May 2016. <

Matthews, Downs. "Arctic Fox." Woodland Park Zoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2016.

"Arctic Fox (Vulpes Lagopus)." Wildscreen Arkive. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

"ARCTIC FOX." Denver Zoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

Havard, Christian. The Fox. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Playful Prowler.

"Arctic Fox." Aquarium of the Pacific. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

"Arctic Fox for Kids." MrNussbaum. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.