Zoology

Habitat of the Arctic Fox



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The Arctic Fox is native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere including Greenland, Iceland, Russia, Canada, Alaska and Scandinavia - All the lands of the circumpolar Arctic and all three tundra biomes: Arctic tundra, Antarctic tundra and alpine tundra.

This type of fox, also known as the White Fox, Snow fox or Polar Fox lives farther north than any other and has to endure some of the coldest conditions found on the planet.

So that it survives the harsh cold weather with temperatures dropping as low as -58f (-50c) the Arctic Fox has adapted to its surroundings. It has thick fur, a good supply of body fat, a thick long tail that it can wrap around itself to keep warm and furry paws with a system of counter current heat exchange in the circulation which keeps them from freezing.

Due to the wide distribution of the Arctic fox its diet, and indeed habitat, can vary greatly from place to place.

Arctic foxes are typically found in vast treeless plains near to the coast. They live in burrows or dens which have more than one entrance which are created on frozen, snow covered hillsides, cliffs or banks. During a blizzard they may tunnel further into the snow for better protection from the harsh weather conditions.

In the winter they have a white coat which blends in with the snow but during May this is shred for a slightly thinner two-tone grayish brown coat so that they are camouflaged amongst the rocks and soil when the snow melts.

The foxes found in the Scandinavian countries and those places where trees are able to grow move to the edge of the forest during the summer, again with there now brown coat this keeps them camouflaged from potential predators such as the Arctic wolf.

Lemmings make up a huge part of the diet for Arctic foxes living in the continental tundra along with berries, other small mammals such as voles and ground squirrels plus bird's eggs during the summer.

Arctic foxes which are living near the coast live mostly off of seabirds such as puffins as well as seals and fish.

During the winter when food is scarcer they may eat leftover remains of an animal that has been killed by a polar bear or wolf, but they need to be careful (and extremely hungry) as these are the predators of Arctic Foxes.

Climate change is a potential threat to the Arctic Fox along with the other animals that live in these cold climates but so far the Arctic Fox is not on the endangered list.

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