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Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox
North Slope,
Alaska, 1959
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Alopex lagopus
The Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) is a small fox native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Arctic foxes are canids and the only member of their genus.

Table of contents
1 Description
2 Habits
3 Population and distribution


Arctic foxes come in two distinct color morphs. Foxes of the white morph are white in the winter and in the summer are dull brown, paler underneath. Foxes of the blue morph are light gray in the winter, and in the summer are gray with a bluish tint.

Arctic foxes are tend to be 50-60 cm long, not including a 30 cm tail. They are 20-30 cm tall at the shoulder, and usually weigh from 3-6 kg. Thus, they are about the size of a domestic cat.

The species name, lagopus, means "rabbit foot," a reference to the thick hair on the pads of the animal's feet. The hair helps reduce heat loss into snow and ice, and it improves traction.


Arctic foxes eat a wide variety of things, including lemmings, birds and eggs, carrion, and plants. The most important of these foods is lemmings, with a family of foxes eating dozens of lemmings each day.

The foxes tend to form monogamous pairs in the breeding season. Litters of about half a dozen to a dozen whelps are born in the early summer, a very large litter size for mammals. The parents raise the young in a large den.

Population and distribution

Arctic foxes have a circumpolar range, meaning tht they are found throughout the entire arctic, including Russia, Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Iceland. They are plentiful in most areas, although a few isolated populations are struggling.

The population of Arctic Foxes tends to fluctuate in a cycle along with the population of lemmings. Because the foxes reproduce very quickly and often die young, population levels are not seriously impacted by trapping.\n