The Arctic Fox is a stunning creature with some incredible qualities, including the changing colour of its fur and, of course, its ability to survive in some of the coldest climates on earth. The temperature has to fall below 70°C before the Arctic Fox will even start to shiver. How does it flourish so well in such harsh environments?
The Arctic Fox has adapted to its climate in several crucial ways: short legs, ears and a short muzzle help it to conserve heat; a good supply of body fat keeps temperature constant and extra fur on paws can protect against the ice. Most distinctly, the Arctic Fox has a luscious layer of fur which turns white in the winter to blend in with the surrounding snow.
Lemmings make up the bulk of the Arctic Fox’s diet, although they are always happy to scavenge for other food sources and scraps left behind by a polar bear might make for a fox’s banquet! When hunting their prey they make use of highly tuned hearing to listen out for small movements made by animals moving underneath the snow. When noise has been detected they will pounce, leaping into the air before punching through the snow to reach their next meal. A family of foxes can eat dozens of lemmings each day, although they also feast on voles, hares, birds and eggs.
Baby foxes are born in the spring, with each litter bringing around 5 to 9 pups. The Arctic Fox is a romantic species, with couples mating for life and both the males and females helping to bring up the children. There are thought to be several thousand arctic foxes alive today, but although they are well adapted to their habitat the Arctic Fox does face some threats. Historically it faced dangers from hunters, although as the demand for fur has decreased so too has this human threat. Now it faces diseases spread from other animals and the threat of its habitat decreasing as climate change affects the areas that it is best suited to.
The Arctic Fox is certainly a beautiful animal, a fact which the Russian miner and photographer Ivan Kislov has been keen to make the best of. Working in the brutal arctic climate of Chukotka, he spends time on his breaks taking incredible photographs, capturing the beauty of their daily survival. Kislov’s photos show the Arctic Foxes in a range of states; exposing both their mischievous ways and their vulnerabilities. For more of his photos you can look here, or to tell us about your own experiences with this incredible animal why not connect in the comments below?
I’ll be writing more about the amazing wildlife of the Arctic in future posts. To keep up to date with my latest articles, sign up for my newsletter: