Arctic Foxes: Too Beautiful for Their Own Good
The Arctic fox lives in the Far North, which is why it has thick, warm and beautiful fur that also provides it with camouflage in the snow. Sadly, it is precisely because of its fur that this animal has become widely known (and endangered).
The Arctic fox resembles the common fox in appearance; hence its name. The Arctic fox is distinguished from the common fox by shorter ears, which are almost entirely hidden by fur, and shorter legs, with the pads of its feet covered in fur. Arctic foxes change the color of their fur with the seasons. In the summer it is reddish black or brown, while in the winter the fur color can vary significantly. Arctic foxes have two color morphs: white and blue. Although white Arctic foxes look more attractive than the blue ones, the latter’s fur is considered more valuable.
In the winter, Arctic foxes do not build homes: they sleep in shallow dens that they dig in the snow. Arctic foxes sleep soundly, and when the wind is high, it is possible to approach them very closely.
In the winter, Arctic foxes roam around. They travel on drifting ice. Arctic foxes are very agile and almost never stay still. In the winter, they follow polar bears, hoping to get leftovers of their food.
In winter, they hunt mostly lemmings, digging them out from under the snow. Fish also forms part of their diet, and Arctic foxes are good at fishing. They often hunt rodents. In addition to meat, Arctic foxes eat various herbs.
Arctic foxes like water and therefore tend to build their dens near water bodies. These dens are complex structures resembling a labyrinth with numerous entrances and exits. A fox may use a single den throughout its life.
People have been hunting Arctic foxes for their warm and beautiful fur since ancient times. In many areas, extensive hunting has dramatically reduced the population of these animals. In those areas where Arctic foxes are not hunted, they get accustomed to humans and wander near their homes. Hungry Arctic foxes sometimes steal food from courtyards, including dog food; occasionally, they enter sheds and houses. Some even get used to hand-feeding. Fox cubs taken by people from their dens at a young age tend to remain tame as they get older. Foxes regularly fed by people soon develop a habit of gathering near feeders at a certain time.