February 20, 2018
Cold Weather Critter
- as seen by -Megan Maher
At first glance, the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) looks more like a plush toy than an actual animal. With its overly fluffy fur, short ears, and small nose, you can definitely see why.
These characteristics may make the Arctic fox seem cuddly but they are serious adaptations that help it weather sub-zero temperatures in its native northern habitat. A woolly coat aids in regulating body temperature, and a thick tail can be wrapped around like a scarf to comfortably sleep. Its foxy facial features help it to be one of the best hunters in the Arctic as it pinpoints the exact locations of prey deep below the snow and brush.
This species travels hundreds of miles each winter in search of food and shelter while I’m at home deciding if that delivery fee from my favorite fusion place is worth it. With temperatures sometimes reaching -50F in the tundra habitat where the Arctic fox dines, I guess GrubHub doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This Lunar New Year, we are celebrating the Year of the Dog with various posts on canids.