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Arctic foxes are omnivorous canids found in the Arctic. They are well-adapted to severely frigid temperatures. They’re also called snow foxes or polar foxes.
See the fact file below for more information on the Arctic Fox or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Arctic Fox worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) adapt well to the extremely low temperatures of the Arctic.
- Arctic foxes are native to the Northern Hemisphere’s Arctic regions.
- “Lagopus” in their scientific name means “rabbit-footed.”
- Its other names are polar fox, snow fox, and white fox because of the color of its fur in the winter.
- Arctic foxes are also called “clowns of the tundra” because they’re found across the Arctic tundra biome.
- Arctic foxes normally live in burrows which can be hundreds of years old and used by multiple generations of Arctic foxes.
- The underground tunnel systems are are impressingly wide (covering up to 1,000 square miles) and extensive (with up to 150 entrances).
- When there’s a blizzard, they make their shelter by tunneling into the snow.
- The Arctic fox belongs to the canid family together with other wolves, foxes, and dogs.
- They are also the only land mammal native to Iceland.
- They measure 18 to 27 inches in body length.
- Female arctic foxes are typically smaller than males.
- The average weight of adult males is 7.7 pounds and females is 6.4 pounds.
- Their conservation status is Least Concern, meaning their population is stable. They’re not an endangered species.
- It is the smallest canine found in Canada.
- Its tail is about 30-35% of its length.
- They have poor eyesight, but possess a sharp sense of smell and perfect sense of hearing.
- They are able to maintain their body temperature because of their thick fur.
- Their feet are also covered with fur, which is not a typical characteristic of wild canids.
- They have a rounded body, short legs, short muzzle, and short ears that also help them maintain their body temperature as the amount of surface area minimizes the heat escape.
- Among all animals in the Arctic, they have the warmest skin.
- Their walm pelt can endure temperatures as low as -70 °C.
- If the temperature gets lower than -70 °C, their metabolism increases so they can keep warm.
- The fur of an Arctic fox changes color according to the season, making it the only canid capable of doing so.
- Its fur is a beautiful white in the winter and brown or gray in the summer.
- The color change allows it to camouflage with its surroundings, such as trees and plants in the summer and snow in the winter.
- Arctic foxes are monogamous, meaning they stay with their mate for life
- Unlike wolves, their canine relative, arctic foxes are solitary animals. They don’t usually gather in packs, but they form pairs during the mating season.
- They do not hibernate.
Predator and Prey
- Arctic foxes are omnivorous animals.
- They prey on rodents, lemmings, birds, ringed seal pups, and fish.
- They also eat berries. carrion, seaweed, insects, and tiny invertebrates.
- The arctic fox has to dive into snow when hunting to break through thick layers.
- They are also scavengers.
- When prey and food is scarce during winter, they feed on the leftovers of the polar bear, the Arctic’s primary predator.
- They are also capable of reducing the rate of their metabolisms to save energy when food is limited.
- Their common predators are polar bears, grizzly bears, golden eagles, and bigger canids such as wolves, wolverines, and red foxes.
- There was a case in Canada wherein polar bears and arctic foxes formed a strong friendship.
Parents and Pups
- Females give birth in the spring and raise pups with her partner in the summer.
- Other relatives of their fox family may help in raising their young.
- They can give birth to a litter of as many as 5 to 10 pups in one go. At times that can go up to 25 pups if the food in that area is abundant.
- Because summer is short in the Arctic region, pups have to grow up fast so they can build fat reserves otherwise they might not be able to survive winter.
- They live as nomads, travelling long distances in the hunt for food.
- They rank among the largest of all terrestrial mammals who travel such substantial distances.
- Arctic foxes have been recorded traveling of up to 2,800 miles during a seasonal movement in winter.
- Their life span ranges from 3 to 6 years in the wild, and extends to 15 years in captivity.
- The expansion of the red fox, which is larger than the arctic fox, threatens their population.
- Red foxes head north because of global warming thus taking over the habitats of arctic foxes.
- Humans also pose a threat to arctic foxes as they are hunted for their beautiful, thick fur.
- It takes up to 20 foxes to make one coat.
- You can’t import an arctic fox into New Zealand because they are prohibited there under the country’s Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.
Arctic Fox Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about arctic fox across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Arctic Fox worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the arctic foxes are omnivorous canids found in the Arctic. They are well-adapted to severely frigid temperatures. They’re also called snow foxes or polar foxes.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Arctic Fox Facts
- Home of the Snow Fox
- Am I Arctic?
- One Part, One Fact
- Physical & Social
- Correct Choices
- Family of Canines
- Arctic Animals
- Predator or Prey
- Knowledge Recap
- Polar Fox Poem
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Link will appear as Arctic Fox Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 6, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.