Learn More About the Arctic Fox
The Arctic fox is an incredible creature that many people have heard of, but few know much more than its name and that it lives in colder climates. The Arctic fox is related to the red fox, which is the familiar species of fox most people think of when they hear that name. Interestingly enough, the territory of some red foxes and Arctic foxes actually overlap, though it’s much more common for the red fox to be found further south. Keep reading to learn more about the lesser known Arctic fox.
Basic facts about the Arctic fox
Arctic foxes are actually fairly small, probably around the size of a typical housecat, anywhere between 6-20 pounds. The fox has a diet that consists of a mix of plants and animals, but it favors birds, rodents, and fish. Sometimes, Arctic foxes also eat leftover prey from larger Arctic mammals. Arctic foxes also give birth to large litters, which can have up to 14 pups.
How does it survive in the cold?
It might seem impossible that a small fox could survive in the Arctic, where temperatures sometimes drop to below -58 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the Arctic fox has developed plenty of adaptations to make it possible to survive in this climate. The primary way foxes survive in the cold climate is due to their coats. In the winter, their coats turn bright white and allow them to easily blend in with the snow. In the spring and summer months, their coats take on a grayish brown color that helps blend in with foliage after the snow melts. Besides the changing colors, the foxes’ coats are also thick and trap in warmth. They also have fur on the bottom of their feet, short ears and noses, and bushy tails perfect for aiding in warmth. Arctic foxes also live in burrows, which are considerably warmer than the Arctic air aboveground.
In general, one of the biggest threats to Arctic fox survival is the scarcity of prey during colder months. With climate change, their typical prey can decrease and it becomes harder to find enough food to sustain them throughout the winter. Climate change decreases the range of the Arctic fox’s territory and makes survival even more difficult. Previously, the population of Arctic foxes was drastically decreased due to the fur trade and hunters. Now, this trade is strictly monitored, but there is still a threat from poaching for the species.
How can we help?
The best way to help the Arctic fox, like many other animals, is through raising awareness. Share information with others about these beautiful creatures and highlight specific ways they can help. Whether through volunteering with an organization or donations, there are countless ways to help the Arctic fox and keep this species stable.