Monday, December 6, 2010

Arctic Fox

Winter Coat
We received our first snowfall of the year just recently, which made me think of all the amazing animals who are adapted to life in absolutely frigid temperatures. The Arctic Fox (Alpoex lagopus) is just one of those creatures. Able to live at temperatures of -58 degrees Fahrenheit, they are animals well suited to the Arctic expanses.

One of the most well known features of the Arctic Fox is its ability to change color depending on the season. In the summer, when the snowfall had abated and the ground is dark, they take on coat that ranges from grey to brown. In the winter, they are a startling white. This adaptation allows the Foxes to camouflage themselves at all times of the year. Arctic Foxes also have short legs, ears, and noses, which leave them less exposed to the elements. Their long, bushy tail is also used for warmth and coverage.

Summer Coat
Arctic Foxes are nomadic creatures. They move around from place to place in search of food, which consists of birds, mammals, and even fish. Lemmings are a major source of food for the Foxes, and the population trends of both species tend to mirror one another. One rather interesting fact is that they will sometimes follow Polar Bears, in order to feed off of their scraps and even their feces.

Every spring, 6-12 young are born in a den built by the mother. Both parents feed and care for the kits, and they remain together during the summer months before going off on their own.

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