Arctic Fox or also known as Snow Fox or White Fox is the only native land mammal to Iceland. Click here for a more detailed article. Click here for the map. It came to the isolated North Atlantic island at the end of the last ice age, walking over the frozen sea. Arctic Fox are found throughout the Arctic, including the outer edges of Greenland, Russia, Canada, Alaska, and Svalbard, as well as in Subarctic and alpine areas, such as Iceland and mainland alpine Scandinavia. The subspecies of the Arctic fox are, Bering Islands Arctic Fox, Iceland Arctic Fox, Pribilof Islands Arctic Fox and Greenland Arctic Fox.
The average length in the male is 85.3 cm, with a range of 83 to 110 cm and in the female average length is 82.1 cm, with a range of 71.3 to 85 cm. The tail of the male Arctic Fox is 31 cm long in and in the female it is, 30 cm long. It is 25–30 cm high at the shoulder. An average male weighs 3.5 kg, with a range of 3.2 to 9.4 kg, while females average 2.9 kg, with a range of 1.4 to 3.2 kg.
Arctic Fox lives in some of the world’s most rigid extremes. Its deep and thick fur helps it to survive in the freezing snow. A system of counter current heat exchange in the circulation of paws to retain core temperature and is a good supply of body fat helps it to survive too. It has a low surface area to volume ratio, as evidenced by its short muzzle and legs, generally rounded body shape and thick ears. Since less surface area is exposed to cold, less heat escapes from its body. Its furry paws helps it to walk on ice. Arctic Fox has such keen hearing that it can precisely locate the position of its prey even if it is under the snow. It pounces and punches through the snow to catch its victim. To camouflage, its fur turns white during winter and turns brown during summer.
The gestation period of an Arctic Fox lasts for 53 days. The litters tends to average 5 to 8 pups but may be as many as 25. Both the mother and the father help to raise their young. The females leave the family and form their own groups and the males stay with the family. They form monogamous pairs in the breeding season. They’re born in the early summer and are raised in a large den. Dens houses many generation of fox. Young from previous year’s litter may stay with their family to help their younger siblings. Kits are initially brown and when they are older, they turn white. The Arctic Fox will generally eat any meat it can find. The Arctic Fox will generally eat any meat it can find. A family of foxes can eat dozens of lemmings each day. During April and May the Arctic Fox also preys on Ringed Seal pups when the young animals are confined to a snow den and are relatively helpless. Fish beneath the ice are also part of its diet. If there is an overabundance of food hunted, the Arctic Fox will bury what the family cannot eat. When its normal prey is scarce, the Arctic Fox scavenges the leftovers and even feces of larger predators, such as the polar bear, even though the bears’ prey includes the Arctic Fox itself.
The Arctic Fox is a wonderful animal. We also need to stop hunting them or one day they will extinct.