Arctic Foxes

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by CeCeRen
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Arctic Foxes

IntroductionThe arctic fox also known as white fox, snow fox and polar fox is an incredibly hardy animal that is well adapted to suite its environment, allowing it to live in extreme conditions. Arctic foxes are the only land mammal in Iceland and even though they are not endangered, scientists have discovered that Arctic foxes struggle with global warming, and are becoming more under threat as ice disappears. They are omnivores eating a ranged diet from berries to birds to anything they can scavenge , often picking up leftovers from one of its predators the polar bear.

Arcitc FoxHabitatArctic Foxes are native to the cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They have a circumpolar range, meaning they can be found throughout the entire Arctic. They live in places such as the outer edges of Greenland, Russia, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, and other locations. Arctic foxes live in burrows dug into the side of a hill, cliff or riverbank and during blizzards they may tunnel into snow to create shelter. Their surrounding habitat is usually treeless terrain, with temperatures ranging from -60 to -55 degrees celcius.AdaptionsThe arctic fox lives in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet. Although the Arctic Fox's surroundings change throughout the year, it adapts to meet its current needs.StructuralThe arctic foxes coat changes with the seasons.Arctic foxes have beautiful white (sometimes blue-grey) coats that act as very effective winter camouflage. The hue of their coats blend into the tundra's surrounding snow and ice during winter. While in summer their coats adopt a brown or grey appearance providing them cover among summer tundra's rocks and plants.The arctic foxes thick fur, furry soles, short ears, and short muzzle are all adaptions that allow it live in its chilly climate. These adaptions all help minimize the escape of body heat.Like a cat's, this fox's thick tail aids in its balance. For an arctic fox the tail (or "brush") is especially useful as warm cover in cold weather.Functional Arctic foxes have phenomenal breeding rates with females giving birth to as many as 25 cubs per year. However, most of these do not survive for more than 6 months, thus, the high birth rate helps to maintain population growth. A system of counter current exchanges in the circulation of paws, help the arctic fox to retain its core temperature.Its furry paws allow it to walk on ice in search of food. The arctic fox has such keen hearing that it can precisely locate the position of prey under the snow. When it finds prey, it pounces and punches through the snow to catch its victim. Behavioural The Arctic fox makes a home called a den by digging into the side of a cliff or hill. In the winter it will dig more tunnels underground, allowing it to travel without having to spend extra time in the cold.Foxes form monogamous pairs during the breeding season and usually stay together in family groups of multiple generations in complex underground dens.Pups open their eyes approximately at the age of 1 week. Towards end of summer babies start hunting by themselves and are thrown out of their den to start their own groups.Foxes don't hibernate during the long winters, instead it has special features such as padded paws and long thick fur to help it survive. It also collects food during the summer and buries it for it to be later eaten.

Factors affecting survivalAbioticArctic foxes are exposed to extreme cold temperature conditions around areas of the Northern hemisphere, luckily the arctic fox has adapted to this factor by having a thick coat, layer of fat, furry soles and many other physical adaptions.Arctic foxes also struggle as wbecause of global warming, they rely on the frozen seas to survive the bleak winters. The ice helps foxes survive because there are fewer predators and food is easier to find than on land.Forest habitat is unsuitable for Arctic Foxes. Arctic Foxes prey largely on lemmings and voles.Because of global warming milder and shorter winters are predicted to causedeclines in the regularity of these rodents population.BioticIn winter prey can be scarce on the ground. At such times, arctic foxes will follow the region's premier predator the polar bear to eat the leftover scraps from its kills. This creates a commensalism relationship between the two animals.Humans and polar bears are all predators to the arctic fox. With the polar bears hunting foxes as prey and humans also hunting them for their beautiful coats.Competition between the arctic fox and red fox is gradually becoming more obvious, with both animals competing for the same food sources. Red foxes have been known to kill kits of the arctic fox to dominate hunting regions.Arctic foxes prey on any small animals they can find, including lemmings, voles, ringed seal pups, fish and bird eggs. They will also eat carrion berries and seaweed.

Arctic Foxes


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