25 Little Known Facts About Arctic Foxes

Posted by , Updated on March 24, 2024

The Arctic fox might not be as recognizable to us as a standard red fox, but they are actually extraordinary animals that frequently go unnoticed. You might be curious about what the Arctic foxes consume or the adaptions they require to endure in one of the planet’s harshest and coldest environments. In truth, there is a multitude of fascinating information about these petite canine predators that is worth exploring. Are you prepared to increase your understanding of the Arctic fox? Take a look at these 25 Lesser Known Facts About Arctic Foxes.


Officially called the arctic fox, this animal also has several nicknames such as white fox, polar fox, or snow fox.

arctic fox whitewall.alphacoders.com

Living in extremely cold regions, the arctic fox has a unique system of heat exchange that will not let it start shivering until the temperature drops to an astounding −70 °C (−94 °F).

arctic fox snowwww.dailymail.co.uk

Another adaptation that allows the fox to survive such harsh conditions is its low surface area to volume ratio and a rounded body shape to minimize the heat escape.

arctic fox lyingwww.redorbit.com

People usually think arctic foxes are just white, but in summer when the snow melts away, their fur turns dark to blend in with the environment.

black arctic foxwww.wpclipart.com

Their ability to change colors can be even more advanced – studies have shown that arctic foxes living in areas where the snow is not purely white, produce fur of the same, grayish color as the snow.

arctic fox greyanimalsoftheworld.deviantart.com

Arctic foxes live in underground dens which can be centuries old, used by numerous generations of foxes. These tunnel systems are often very large, covering as many as 1,000 sq. miles (1,200 sq yd) and having up to 150 entrances.

arctic fox denaeshahadlina.wordpress.com

Depending on food availability, females usually have 5 – 10 young, but in areas where food is abundant, they can have as many as 25 offspring, which is the most of all wild living mammals.

arctic fox pupswww.nwf.org

The young have to grow up and build fat reserves very fast because summer is short in the polar region. Unfortunately, many cubs fail to do that and the first winter is often fatal for them.

small arctic foxwebsite.lineone.net

Arctic foxes are omnivorous, eating almost anything they can find – from rodents, birds or fish to berries, seaweed and carcasses left by larger predators. In case of extreme scarcity, they have been even known to eat their own feces.

arctic fox fishwww.churchillwild.com

When hunting, the arctic fox has to break through thick layers of snow. In order to do that, she jumps high in the air and dives headfirst into snow.

arctic fox walkingfineartamerica.com

When food is not available, the arctic fox is able to reduce its metabolic rate by half while remaining still active, thereby saving energy.

arctic foxcisprima.pbworks.com

The Arctic fox is usually hunted by polar bears, but in Canada, there was a recorded case of a strong friendship between these two animals. They played together, and the giant bear even shared his food with his little fox friend.

polar bearwww.worth1000.com

The arctic fox is known for its far ranging movements, which rank among the largest of all terrestrial mammals. During the seasonal movements, individuals have been recorded to travel a total of up to 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) over a winter season.

white arctic foxwww.jholko.com

While arctic foxes have perfect senses of smell and hearing, they have pretty poor sight.

arctic fox eyeswww.ecophoto.se

Due to its small size, adult males average at 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) and females at 2.9 kg (6.4 lb), arctic foxes are often preyed upon by wolverines, wolves, and even golden eagles.


However, it is people who pose the greatest threat to these amazing animals. Arctic foxes are hunted mainly for their fur, although it takes as many as 20 foxes to make just one coat.

arctic sniperweb.duke.edu

Thanks to their relatively high reproductive output, the global population of arctic foxes is not endangered yet but several sub-populations are. In all of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, for example, the estimated population of this animal is fewer than 200 individuals.

arctic fox lookingen.wikipedia.org

Another threat the arctic foxes have to face is the expansion of the larger red fox. Global warming allows them to stretch northward and take over areas that used to belong to arctic foxes.

red foxretrieverman.net

With the average head-and-body length of the male being just 55 cm (22 in) and 52 cm (20 in) for females, arctic foxes are the smallest wild canines found in Canada.

arctic foxwww.iyufera.com

The arctic fox is the only land mammal native to Iceland.


However, not every country wants to be a home to this animal. In New Zealand, for example, the arctic fox is classed as a "prohibited new organism" under the country's Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, preventing it from being imported into the country.

new zealandwww.cutestpaw.com

The lifespan of arctic foxes living in the wilderness is usually just 3 - 6 years, but when kept in captivity, they can live as long as 15 years.

arctic fox tailwww.viralspell.com

Although belonging to the same family as wolves, arctic foxes are generally lonely wanderers. They only tend to form monogamous pairs during the mating season.


The arctic fox has paws covered in thick fur, which is unique to wild canines. Their scientific name "lagopus,“ means “rabbit-footed.”


Arctic foxes have heavily pigmented eyes to help protect them from the intense sun glare on the ice and snow. Sometimes, they can even have heterochromia – differently colored eyes.

arctic fox eyesimgur.com

Photo: Featured Image - Mark Dumont, Sleepy Arctic Fox, CC BY 2.0 , 1. Will Brown, Arctic Fox, CC BY 2.0, 2. Scott Fleming, Playful Arctic Wolves, CC BY-SA 2.0, 3. Mark Dumont, Sleepy Arctic Fox, CC BY 2.0 , 4. Susanne Nilsson, Arctic Fox, CC BY-SA 2.0, 5. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 6. Claudia.Garad, Arctic-fox-Iceland, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 7. Don Henise, Arctic Fox 2012-06-09 (1) (7982765293), CC BY 2.0 , 8. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 9. Eric Kilby, Arctic Fox Glowing, CC BY-SA 2.0, 10. Henri Bergius, Arctic sniper, CC BY-SA 2.0, 11. Jonathan Othén, Wolverine in Sweden, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 12. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 13. Pixnio.com (Public Domain), 14. Pexels.com (Public Domain), 15. Emma, Arctic fox (6375703941), CC BY 2.0 , 16. Ansgar Walk, Arctic Fox 1997-08-05, CC BY-SA 2.5 , 17. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 18. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 19. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Arctic fox pups (5945302512), CC BY 2.0 , 20. Eric Kilby from Somerville, MA, USA, Arctic Fox in Summer Coat (20986746788), CC BY-SA 2.0 , 21. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 22. MaxPixel.com (Public Domain), 23. PxHere.com (Public Domain), 24. PxHere.com (Public Domain), 25. Erik F. Brandsborg from Oslo, Norway, Fjellrev - Arctic fox (24490250823), CC BY-SA 2.0