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In this lesson we will learn about how arctic fox adaptations help them to survive in the tundra of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and other icy areas of the world.

Polar Arctic Foxes use Camouflage

Polar arctic fox with summer and winter fur

How can polar arctic foxes live in the tundra? Well, they have adaptations that allow them to live in icy temperatures during winter, and warmer temperatures in spring and summer. The arctic fox has the best insulation of any land mammal, which protects it from the cold. Its thick fur helps it survive temperatures far below 0 degrees. So, they don’t have to wear heavy coats like we do.

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They have just the right fur coat for each season of the year.During the winter the polar arctic fox has white fur as its camouflage, which allows it to blend in with the snowy environment. During the warmer months its fur is lighter weight, and the color changes to a mixture of brown, gray and white. This allows the fox to blend in with the rocky areas as the snow melts.

Polar Arctic Foxes are Excellent Hunters

Polar arctic fox hunting in the snow.
Blue Arctic Fox
Blue arctic fox picture

Unlike the polar arctic, the blue arctic fox has the same dark brown or black fur all year. Its fur is thicker in winter and lighter weight in the warmer months.

It lives on the arctic seashore, and eats whatever the waves wash ashore. Polar arctic foxes will travel many miles in search of food, but the blue arctic fox does not usually travel far from the shore, which provides its food.Both polar arctic foxes and blue arctic foxes have up to 14 kits (babies) per litter. It is very difficult to tell the difference between fox types when they are born because they are the same dark gray color. You would not even realize the polar fox kits would ever turn white. When the arctic fox kit grows into an adult it will only weigh about 9 pounds.

In the wild, their short lifespan is about 4-6 years, but in captivity they can live up to 15 years.

Lesson Summary

There are two types of arctic foxes: the blue arctic, and the more common polar arctic. The polar arctic fox changes from white fur in winter to brownish gray in spring and summer and eats mostly lemmings to survive. The blue arctic fox is the same color all year, and eats food from the seashore.

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