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Mammal Species of the World's Boreal Forests

BIRDS

   
Alopex lagopus
Arctic Fox

Description

Distinguishing Features - Average lenght: Male 1 m, Female .8 m. Weight: Male 2.7 - 3.4 kg., Female 2.1 - 2.8 kg. Overall colouration: winter - white with blueish-black and pearl-gray variations; summer - dark brown on back, tail and outer sides of legs, yellowish-white to buff on belly and sides. Body, compact. Legs, short. Ears smaller and less pointed than other foxes.

Arctic Fox Habitat

Arctic and alpine tundra of North America and Siberia; also extreme north of Scandinavia; in winter migrates southward into northern boreal forests.

Diet

Prefers rodents, primarily lemmings and voles; also ground-nesting birds and their eggs. Will also follow wolves and bears to pick up left-over carrion.

Notes

As with the red fox, the species has been subjected to rabies epidemics where 20 percent of a local population has died. It is also subjected to predation by other carnivores such as wolves, and has been widely hunted by man for its fur. Still the species survives in large numbers. It has adapted well to its harsh environment and in good years produces large litters.



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