How would you like to go to a land of snow and meet an Arctic Fox?
The Arctic fox is a very well adapted fox. In winter he is as white as the snow he lives in. In summer his coat changes to brown.
Where they are found
The Arctic fox is found throughout the Arctic tundra, through Alaska, Canada and Greenland.
You can find the Arctic fox in Russia, Norway, Scandinavia and even in Iceland.
What do they look like
The Arctic fox is about the size of a cat. It is the smallest member of the fox family.
The Arctic fox has this thick fur to keep him warm.
He has short legs and a small muzzle as well as little round ears. The Arctic fox even has fur under his paws.
Where do they live
The Arctic fox is perfectly suited to live in a very cold place. He does not hibernate in winter.
Instead his coat changes to suit each season and keep him warm.
The fox family live in burrows. The male and female fox live together for their entire life.
Both of them help to raise their pups.
If there is a bad snow storm they can burrow into the snow and wait for the storm to stop. The Arctic fox feeds on lemmings, little rodents, in the Arctic.
They are omnivores and eat rodents, birds and even fish. The Arctic fox will eat berries, insects, seaweed and baby seals. It eats a wide variety of food.
The Arctic fox has a good sense of smell. In winter, when there is not much food, it will track down a polar bear kill. The Arctic fox is a scavenger and tries to have a share in the polar bear feast.
The Arctic fox has a large litter of pups. The pups are born in April or May.
They may have litters of five to eight puppies. Sometimes record numbers of pups have been noted, up to twenty-five pups at one time.
They live in their burrows that have many tunnels and entrances to confuse their enemies.
Several females and their pups may share the burrows and a female fox without pups may help the others to look after the bigger litters.
The Arctic fox communicates through howls and calls to each other.
A high pitched howl is a danger warningTheir round ears point forward to help with their remarkable sense of hearing.
The Arctic fox can hear the lemmings, their favorite food, under the snow.
The Arctic fox jumps high in the air and pounces on the lemmings to catch them by surprise. They catch newly born ringed seals in this way too.
Predators and dangers
The Arctic fox is small animal and hunted by many bigger animals in the Arctic.
Some birds are its enemies. Wolverines, red foxes, polar bears, snow owls and golden eagles all hunt the Arctic fox.
He is in danger of being hunted by people for his beautiful snow white fur. Climate change affects the Arctic fox’s environment.
Contribution to nature
The Arctic fox adds nutrients to the soil through his tunnels and burrows.
The foxes urine and faeces are deposited underground. This is known as ‘ecosystem engineering’ and is a way of bringing plant food underground.
The Arctic fox is a scavenger and helps to clean up after a polar bear kill.
Arctic Fox Facts for Kids
1.Arctic fox burrows can spread over an area of 500sq. feet and have over 500 entrances.
2.The Arctic fox sometimes steals goose eggs.
3.In summer the Arctic fox puts on weight.He tries to double his weight to prepare for winter.
4.There is a ‘blue’ coloured Arctic fox. It has taken on a blue/brown color to blend with the rocks along the coast of the Arctic areas.
5.The Arctic fox has a very good sense of hearing and smell. It can hear a lemming 46 – 77cms under the snow. It can smell and track a polar bear kill up to 40kms away.
Tundra: a treeless Arctic region where the sub soil is frozen.
Faeces: waste material secreted from an animal through its bowels.
Muzzle: the nose and mouth area of some animals like a dog.
What did you Learn?
1.What is so interesting about the Arctic fox’s furry coat?
The Arctic fox can change the color of its coat from white to brown to keep camouflaged in summer and in winter.
2.What is the Arctic fox’s favorite food?
The Arctic fox loves to eat lemmings.
3.How does the Arctic fox help with the environment?
The Arctic fox leaves faeces and urine in his burrow and this provided goodness for the soil.
4.How does the Arctic fox keep warm all year round in a very cold climate?
The Arctic fox has thick fur and a small muzzle and little ears. He has fur under his feet too.
5.How do you know the Arctic fox has very good hearing?
The Arctic fox hears small lemmings under the snow. He pounces and catches them by surprise.
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