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Arctic fox

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Arctic fox
Arctic fox 1.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial

Alopex lagopus

The Vulpes fox is species of true fox, and one of the smallest canines in the world. During the winter they have white fur so they can blend into their surroundings, but their fur turns grayish brown during the summer months.

Anatomy

Arctic Fox near Churchill, Manitoba.

The arctic fox is about 10-12 inches at the shoulders and 6 to 10 pounds. The Fox's fur is light brown and grey in the summer, and in the winter its fur is white. The fur of the arctic fox is the warmest of all mammals, even besting that of the polar bear and the arctic wolf. They also have dense fur on their paws for when they walk on snow and ice.[1] When they eat their diet usually consists of lemmings, voles, squirrels, birds, bird eggs, berries, fish and carrion. They also follow polar bears to see if they can feed on their leftovers.

Reproduction

When the arctic fox is 9 to 10 months old it is sexually mature. When they breed it is between the months of March to April, with a 52 day gestation period. The arctic fox has up to 7 pups, but there has been a record of 15.[2] Both of the parents help raise the pups. When the pups are about 6 weeks old they have been weaned, and start to hunt when they are 3 months old. During the summer they stay with their parents but when fall comes, they start to split apart. When the food grows scarce, they are almost instantly left to fend for themselves. Most young adults die during this period.

Ecology

The arctic fox mostly lives in the arctic circle. [3]They also live in the northern parts of Alaska and the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, on Iceland and on the coast of Greenland. The arctic fox is adapted to the arctic weather with its long, camouflaged fur. They also tend to eat anything that they can find. The creature's are also very stealthy predators, being able to move about unnoticed even in the bare tundra.[4] Their short stature aids in heat conservation in the frigid climate, and they sometimes use their tails as mufflers.

While arctic foxes are not generally endangered, there are 2 species which are. The Russian fox population has been cut down 90 percent from disease passed on from dog ticks. The ones in Fennoscandia have been over hunted at the turn of the century.

Gallery

Related References