Meet the Arctic Fox: A Beautiful & Resourceful Far North Inhabitant

November 27, 2014

 Arctic fox

Image credit: Quark passenger

Like all wildlife in the world’s Polar Regions, the arctic fox is able to easily adapt to its surroundings. The expression “smart like a fox” certainly applies to this interesting animal!

While we have to dress according to weather conditions when we dress for the Arctic, nature takes cares of that for the arctic fox, sometimes also referred to as the polar fox. Of all the arctic animals, no other creature in the Arctic has a pelt that provides warmth like the arctic fox’s – the temperature has to drop to -50 Celsius before the animal may just begin to feel cold.

Arctic Fox Facts

Its size helps it to conserve warmth. The arctic fox is often not much bigger than a large domestic cat, ranging from 75 to 115 centimetres in length and weighing anywhere from 2.5 to 9 kilograms. It has short legs, a short muzzle and small rounded ears, all of which reduce the amount of surface area available for heat loss. Its feet are also covered in fur, as is its thick tail, which it can use as a blanket of sorts.

 Arctic fox cub

Image credit: Quark passenger

Get to Know the Arctic Fox

The arctic fox’s pelt is thicker in winter months and changes colours with the seasons, a trait unique to this member of the dog family. The changing colours provide a camouflage effective for hunting prey such as lemmings, squirrels and birds. Its hearing and sense of smell are so acute, the fox can pick up on the sound of smaller critters as they travel in tunnels under the snow.

The fox is primarily a carnivore but is a bit of a scavenger as well, picking the bones of dead animals left behind by polar bears and timber wolves. It will also eat berries, vegetation and even its own feces if no other food is readily available. But if there is an abundance of food, it will often be carried back to the den and stored away. The arctic fox is nothing if not resourceful.

This animal does not hibernate and is active throughout the year. It can be found throughout the Arctic, around the globe, but generally does not have a tremendous range – its home territory will vary in size from 3 to 25 kilometres. 

Foxes are monogamous animals and usually remain together in family units of multiple generations. They make their homes in elaborate and sometimes ancient dens with scores of tunnels and entrances. Litters can be quite large – some have produced up to 25 pups – and both parents take active roles in the raising of their young.

Meet the Arctic Foxes at Arctic Watch

Arctic foxes can be elusive, but you may just pass a den or two on an adventure expedition at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Keep your camera handy! During the arctic summer, both Mom and Dad help raise the litter, which typically ranges from 5 to 9 pups (but can be much larger). If you're heading out on the popular Arctic Watch fishing day trip, don’t forget your camera. Even a smartphone can capture amazing photographs of these adorable arctic denizens – and it's easier to pack and carry for an active day out.

Quark Expeditions travelers taking photos at Arctic Watch

The arctic fox is a beautiful and intelligent animal, and just one example of the plentiful polar wildlife you’ll have a chance to see on your arctic expedition. Book an arctic adventure with us today!

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