Squee Sunday: Artic Foxes

Artic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are cute little balls of fluff. Adults are only a foot tall and up to two feet long. Of course the thick fur is to keep out the cold. They even have fur on their paws, which helps it to grip on ice as well as keeping their toes warm.

The arctic fox doesn’t hibernate. It just builds up its fat reserves in autumn and keeps going. It helps that the dens are usually frost free, usually communal and often used by many generations.

They’ll eat pretty much anything they can find: small animals including fish, carrion, eggs, seaweed and berries. Sometimes they jump on the snow to get at animals hibernating beneath.

Adults mate for life. Litters of 5 to 25 kits are born from late May to early July. They first explore outside the den when about 4 weeks old, and they’re weaned by 9 weeks.

In summer their fur becomes blotchy grey for better camouflage against the rocks.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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