The arctic fox is extremely well adapted to its arctic tundra weather conditions. Weighing only about 6 to 10 pounds, with an overall height of about 43 cm, this mammal is hardly visible during winter.
The arctic fox’s scientific name is vulpes lagopus, which is ancient Greek, is a direct reference to the padding on their feet. Lago means “hare” and pous means “foot”.
His coat is a snowy white during winter, and turns a warm brownish grey during summer. These colors allow him to effortlessly blend into his natural surroundings.
The arctic fox has evolved to survive the extreme cold of its habitat by having the warmest coat any mammal on earth has. His coat is surprisingly warmer than an arctic wolf, and even a polar bear.
Founds mostly in the northern regions of Alaska, Canada, Russia, Quebec and Greenland, this fox’s primary diet is the collared lemming and tundra voles. Closer to the coast the arctic fox feasts on seabirds like puffins, murres, and auklets.
Arctic foxes manage to have a steady diet because they are not particular about their food sources. When there is a shortage of their normal diets, they often feast on the leftovers of polar bears and other wild animals. When there is enough food to go around, they save up for later by burying any extra morsels.
Although they seem to be largely carnivore, they have no problems supplementing their diet with a few greens and berries once in a way.
Their body structure is another unique adaptation to freezing habitat. They are small solid creatures, with short legs, ears, and thick fur coats including a bushy tail. Furthermore, they have thick fur padded feet, which keep them warm and provide a good grip when walking on ice.
This animal is a master at digging burrows, and often uses abandoned burrows by ground squirrels as his den, by digging several entrances, making it easily accessible.
His hunting style is another key adaptation. He listens carefully to creatures under the snow, and once he sees movement, he jumps up and down on the snow with its front paws until the snow breaks. He then catches his prey.