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Arctic Fox


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The Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) is a furry mammal that lives in the far north, in the tundra and coastal areas of North America, Iceland, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Siberia. The Arctic fox is found farther north than any other land mammal (polar bears are partly aquatic).

A male fox is called a reynard, the female is called a vixen, and the baby is called a kit. A group of foxes is called a skulk or a leash.

Anatomy: The fur of the Arctic fox is white during the winter and gray-brown in the summer. There is also a blue morph (a coastal subspecies of Arctic fox that is bluish in the winter and chocolate brown in the summer). This is effective camouflage for the fox. This mammal is about 20 inches (50 cm) long plus a tail 12 inches (30 cm) long. The long, bushy tail, sometimes called a sweep, helps the fox change direction quickly and keeps the fox's feet and nose warm when it curls up to sleep. Foxes have sharp, curved claws, sharp teeth, and thick, insulating fur. The relatively small size of the Arctic fox's ears mimimizes heat loss.

Diet: Arctic foxes are carnivores (meat-eaters) who hunt alone. Foxes eat small mammals (like lemmings and voles), eggs, birds, insects, fish, and carrion (carcasses of animals that they find). This fox sometimes follows a polar bear in order to feed on the remains of its kills.

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