A far north predator, the size of a cat, the Arctic fox's thick coat turns from summer grayish-blue to winter white. This adult fox sits on late autumn grass in the Canadian Arctic. Lemmings are the fox's primary food source and they also eat birds, eggs, & berries. With densely furred foot pads, the fox easily travels on snow & ice, searching for prey. During winter, the little fox often follows polar bears, hoping for scraps from a kill. Thick insulating fur, small ears, and a long bushy tail help protect the fox from the Arctic's bitter cold.
Pups are born in dens every spring. The average litter size is about 11. It is the largest litter recorded for any wild mammal in the world. To satisfy the food requirements of their whelps, or pups, adult arctic foxes living on the tundra hunt lemmings throughout the sunlit arctic summer night. Adults store food over the summer months and freeze it in the permafrost.
Warming temperatures in the Arctic, limiting the formation of pack ice, are reducing the area upon which polar bears hunt. For the little white foxes following the bears, global warming could thus mean less winter food. This arctic fox is sitting on late autumn tundra, waiting for the snow.