My scientific name comes from the Greek term meaning « fox with the legs of a hare ». Like the hare, the underside of my paws is lined with fur. I am in fact a good swimmer and a fast runner too.My fur is usually white during the winter months and dark brown during the summer, which provides me with perfect camouflage all year long. Sometimes however, my fur is bluish-grey, especially when I live along coastal areas where there is little ice during winter.
Have you heard of the Allen Rule? It states that for better protection against the cold, animals living in northern climates have shorter appendages than their cousins living in warmer regions. Compare my ears and my legs to those of my cousin the Red Fox, you’ll see…
My offspring are quite demanding, real ogres they are! We need to hunt day and night to satisfy their hunger. Once weaned, each consumes between 3 and 10 lemmings per day. As I may have up to 11 mouths to feed for 15 weeks, that represents almost 4000 lemmings for the whole family. Woah! Talk about a grocery order! I sometimes even try stealing eggs from the Snowy Owls.
I am the most prolific mammal in the world. One female in Russia had a litter of 22 pups!
Length 80 - 110 cm
Height at the shoulder 25 - 30 cm
Weight 2,5 - 4,0 kg
8 to 10 years in the wild, 15 years in captivity
Arctic tundra, from the tree line to the banks, mostly along the coastlines
Lemmings, voles, eggs, birds, fish, marine invertebrates, insects, algae, berries, foliage, carrion, young hares and sometimes young seals
Monogamous; 1 brood per year; generally 3 to 9 young; 51 to 54 days of gestation