Arctic foxes are one of those animals that prove the immense versatility of Nature. A small animal, no bigger than a small dog or the domestic cats, and yet they survive in the wilderness of the Arctic.
These animals are cute, beautiful to look at and intelligent enough to find out creative ways to gather food.
Does your little one want to know more about these creatures? In that case, we have made a list of 11 amazing Arctic fox facts for kids that we are sure your little one would enjoy. Read on!
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Arctic Foxes for Kids
Arctic foxes are also called white foxes or polar foxes are considered to be the true animals of the North as they have several adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive in the harsh weather of the Arctic.
With that introduction, let us dive into the interesting facts about the Arctic foxes.
1. Arctic foxes have the warmest fur in the world
Arctic foxes are built in a way that they can survive the harsh weather of the Arctic. These small animals have the warmest pelt (fur) out of all the Arctic animals.
Additionally, there are other modifications in their bodies that help them to store heat. The legs are short, the ears are rounded and small, and the noses are small too. These reduce the surface area and hence less heat is lost.
Their legs are also covered with thick fur like the rest of their bodies, which acts as a thick blanket to keep the animal warm and comfortable. When they sleep they wrap their tails around their bodies for an extra layer of warmth.
2. They have an extensive underground tunnel system
Arctic foxes often travel through underground tunnels. They are capable of making extensive underground tunnel systems which they can use for resting, hiding or even travelling from one place to the other.
Just imagine a labyrinth of tunnels built below the surface, by these foxes! That is quite fascinating now, isn’t it?
3. Their fur changes colour from season to season
This is one of the most fascinating facts about arctic foxes that one can come across. This information will make you want to see one arctic fox with your own eyes.
As you can already read from the point heading, they indeed change colour from season to season. Their fur can either be white or bluish-grey or brown depending on what season it is. Isn’t that absolutely fascinating?
In winter, they are snowy white or bluish-grey and during summers it changes to brown.
4. Arctic foxes are very well known for their hunting styles
With a thick layer of fur covering their paws, it becomes almost impossible to hear an arctic fox sneak up on someone. This is a massive advantage to these animals as they can easily sneak up on smaller Arctic animals.
Additionally, in case they are unable to hunt, Arctic foxes often follow polar bears so that they can feed on the leftovers of whatever the polar bear hunts. Now that is crafty!
Arctic foxes can even eat berries if they find them.
5. These animals are capable of reducing their metabolism to a certain extent
Getting food in the snowy and harsh weather of the Arctic can be quite a challenge. That is the reason why polar bears hibernate; to make it through a few months without food. However, Arctic foxes do not hibernate.
But they do have a way to slow down their metabolism and heartbeat. When there is a scarcity of food, these foxes burrow in a hole in the snow and rest there for up to two weeks. This allows them to slow down their heartbeat and decrease the rate of metabolism.
6. Arctic foxes have a great sense of hearing and smell
When you live in the harsh weather of the Arctic where food is extremely scarce, it is better to develop senses that will help you locate food faster and in an efficient manner.
That is exactly what the Arctic foxes have developed; a keen sense of hearing and a great nose for smells. They can identify and locate their prey easily with the help of their senses. They can also locate a seal from a mile away by smell.
7. They are nomadic creatures by nature
Arctic foxes travel around with families but hunt alone. They prefer forming small groups and leading a nomadic life. Unless with their kits, these foxes will be usually seen roaming about the snowy landscape alone.
During the summer which is the breeding season, these foxes can be seen with their respective companions. Usually, one male will be there with two adult females and kits.
Keep in mind that only one female reproduces while the other one is the kit from a previous litter that stays back to looks after the kits. This means that only one is the mate and the other is a grown up female fox born to the couple from a previous breeding season.
8. Arctic foxes mate for life
Like their close cousins, the wolves, Arctic foxes too, mate for life. This means that once they choose a partner, they will be there with them till the end.
Keep in mind that they are nomadic creatures and they meet up at the dens during the breeding season. Usually, a female gives birth to 8 to 14 kits and can give birth, twice a year.
9. Climate change is a major threat to them
Unfortunately, it has been found out that climate changes have a major impact on the Arctic foxes. They are not suited for warmer places and temperature rise can lead to food scarcity for these creatures.
Additionally, due to the rise in temperature, the red foxes, which are bigger in size, are expanding their territory. The smaller Arctic foxes are believed to be retreating for this reason as well.
Human beings are also a big threat to these animals. Both the coloured variations of Arctic foxes have been hunted for their thick fur by human beings. Native hunters have often chosen these animals to be on the receiving end of their hunting desires.
10. They are the smallest of the Canidae family
Arctic foxes belong to the Canidae family of animals. These animals are from the dog family with various shared characteristics and physical features. Arctic foxes happen to be the smallest members of this huge family!
11. Arctic foxes are ecological engineers
Yes, you read that correctly. In 2016, a research project was published which spoke and demonstrated that these animals were growing gardens around their dens. Since the tundra (where they are found) have very little vegetation, it is very easy to spot the dwelling of Arctic foxes because of the vegetation growing around them.
It was found that the condition of the soil increases drastically and their nutrients too, increase by leaps and bounds!
Arctic Fox Vs Arctic Wolf- What are the Major Differences?
One question might be there that is popping up in your heads. What is the difference between Arctic foxes and Arctic wolves? Well, they are both from the Canidae family of Canada and share some features. But they are different species and here, we have noted a few differences between them-
- The arctic foxes are the smallest of the dog family in Arctic and they are the size of a domestic cat. On the other hand, Arctic wolves are much larger in size but are smaller than Grey Wolves
- Unlike the Arctic foxes, Arctic wolves do not change the colour of their furs.
- Arctic wolves have often hunted Arctic foxes as they are much smaller in size and this makes the wolves stronger than the foxes.
Want to know some interesting fun facts about Arctic Wolves, read our article: 11 Amazing Arctic Wolf Facts for Kids
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, Arctic foxes and wolves belong to the same canid family; dog-like creatures.
Arctic foxes are omnivores and can feed on anything from small rodents like rats, lemmings to berries and insects. They often feed on the leftover food by polar nears.
Arctic foxes have a great sense of smelling and hearing and are able to use these to locate their prey. They dive nose-first into the snow to hunt lemmings. They also follow polar bears to feast on their leftover food.
A group of Arctic foxes can feed on up to 60 rodents a day. During summers, they feed every day but during winters, when food becomes scarce, these foxes rest in their dwelling places for up to 2 weeks before coming out for food.
The scientific name of the Arctic fox is Vulpes Lagopus.
The babies of Arctic foxes are called kits.
Unless they are teaching the young ones to hunt, Arctic foxes prefer being alone and hunt solo. They aren’t packed animals but they are family animals.
On average, an arctic fox will be about 22 inches in length with a body range of 18 to 27 inches and will weigh between 5 to 15 pounds.
Arctic foxes are generally found in the Arctic and alpine tundra regions of Northern America and Siberia. They can also be found along the coastal lines of the same places.
Arctic foxes live in dens that have been used by their kind and sometimes for 300 years. These dens have multiple openings and consist of complex underground tunnels.
Arctic foxes are made for the Arctic weather with the warmest fur in the world, small nose and ears to reduce heat loss and small legs that prevent them from coming into the icy cold winds.
Arctic wolves prefer living with their families although they hunt alone. There might be many foxes in a massive den with tunnels but they do not form packs like wolves.
No, arctic foxes do not hibernate. But in case there is a scarcity of food, they might live in burrows for 2 weeks to reduce metabolism and heartbeat.
The colour of the fur of Arctic foxes changes with respect to the season. In winter, they are snowy white or bluish-grey and during summers it changes to brown.
Arctic foxes move through the snow without making a single sound and in case they want to hunt, will dive nose-first into the snow to catch the rodent.
Yes, Arctic foxes are good swimmers.
Most Arctic foxes live for anywhere between 3 to 6 years.
There are many predators of Arctic foxes which include wolves and polar bears.
No, Arctic foxes are not nocturnal animals but their great sense of hearing makes it easier for them to move at night if they need to.
No, the population of Arctic foxes is stable and they are not endangered.
Arctic foxes are important as they, around their dens and dwelling places, concentrates nutrients and enhance nutrient cycling and this helps the ecosystem.
That is it, folks! You have managed to come to the end of the article ’11 Amazing Arctic Fox Facts for Kids.’ We hope you had a good time reading about these fascinating creatures and your little one too, enjoyed the article. Have a great day.