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Arctic Fox  (Alopex lagopus)

    The size of a house cat and very active! This chap was patrolling the shoreline looking for something to eat. He would stop periodically to sniff deeply of the debris on the ground and occasionally dug a bit to extract some goodie.

    Like the polar bear, the arctic fox is found only in the north polar regions and is circumpolar. It sheds its pure white or bluish-white winter coat in the spring for a grayish-brown or brown coat. Like the other 20 fox species, the arctic fox is very adaptable in behavior and feeding habits. It usually spends most of the winter on the sea ice with polar bears, living off the carcass material left by the bears. During the summer, it comes ashore and lives on small rodents (mice, lemmings), birds and birds' eggs, and a variety of seashore marine life that washes up. Also like polar bears, the arctic fox exhibits a variety of adaptations to very cold environments. It has very small ears, which are fully furred. Its metabolic rate does not increase until the external temperature drops to 50 C, so energy is conserved.

    Though often solitary during the winter, arctic foxes make family units while raising the kits, with both parents combining their food-gathering efforts. Some communal groups have been recorded, comprising a single male and several adult females. Adult foxes range in size from 10-15 inches head-body length plus 10-14 inch tail length. Body weight is 12-15 pounds.