What do arctic foxes eat? The Arctic fox, sometimes known as the snow fox, polar fox or white fox, are both hunters and opportunistic feeders. This article aims to discuss information regarding the arctic foxes diet in detail.
What do arctic foxes eat?
Arctic foxes are predators so they hunt small rodents such as lemmings. Arctic foxes also eat insects, birds, eggs, and fish.
It’s important to understand that when asking what do Arctic foxes eat, we think about the harsh Arctic environment in which they live. Due to the difficult landscape in which they survive, they have a varied diet. Generally, they will eat any small animal they can find, such as lemmings, voles, hares and seal pups. They predominantly hunt small rodents, with its main food source being the Lemming. Lemmings are small rodents that live in the Arctic tundra, and Arctic foxes have been known to eat as many as thirty of them in a day!
The obvious answer to what do Arctic foxes eat is other animals, but they will also eat insects, birds, eggs, and fish. They will also eat carrion; discarded dead animal carcasses, that have either died naturally, or been hunted, partially eaten, and abandoned by other Arctic predators such as polar bears, wolves, and wolverines.
Arctic foxes have also been known to eat their own feces and the feces of other animals. Although we are not entirely sure why they do this, it has been suggested it helps them to regular their salt levels. They will also hunt and hoard any surplus prey, burying it in the ground to eat on a later occasion, especially when there is an abundance of food in their habitat.
When we think about what do Arctic foxes eat and how they hunt, we should consider that they have excellent hearing, which they use to their advantage when pursuing their next meal. They listen for the movement of rodents or seal pups beneath the snow, then leap into the air, using the force as they land to break through the snow and catch the creature below.
What kind of plants do arctic foxes eat?
As Arctic foxes eat both animals and plants, they are considered omnivores. The Arctic fox lives in the Arctic tundra. The Arctic tundra has cold winds and very little rainfall, which makes the climate almost desert-like. Tundra vegetation is made up of small plants only a few centimeters high, which grow close to the ground, and are densely packed together. There are approximately 1,700 species of plants living on the Arctic tundra, including flowering plants, small shrubs, herbs, grasses, lichens, and mosses. A sheet of permafrost covers a thin layer of soil, known as the active layer, which thaws and refreezes each year. This means that larger plants and trees that require big root systems are unable to grow in this environment. What do Arctic foxes eat is defined by what time of year it is, as in the slightly warmer summer months, it is harder to track and hunt prey as there is less snow. During this time Arctic foxes may eat plant berries, herbs, and grasses from the tundra. It has also been known for them to eat seaweed on occasion, again this could be due to its high salt content.
What is the predator of the arctic fox?
Arctic Foxes are not very big, and they are often confused with the larger Arctic wolf, however, in reality, they are only about the size of a domesticated cat. Over the last decade, they have suffered at the hands of red foxes, that have begun to take over their habitats and eat their food supplies. This has been attributed to global rising temperatures which have seen the red fox travel further north than it previously would have ventured.
To help protect it predators, the fur of the Arctic fox can actually adapt and change the color depending on its habitat. It turns white during the snowy winter months, and grey to match the shades of the rocks and tundra in the summer. The Arctic fox has one of the thickest and warmest mammal furs, to keep it insulated in the cold climate of the Arctic, which can reach below -40 degrees. Its tail is incredibly thick and bushy too, which helps it to balance when jumping during hunts.
We know what do Arctic foxes eat but what about which creatures eat the Arctic fox? The main predators of the Arctic fox are polar bears and wolves. Snowy owls and other birds of prey also hunt the cubs of the Arctic fox.
Effects of humans to arctic fox’s population
Humans pose the biggest threat to the Arctic fox. They used to be hunted in large numbers for their thick fur, and although the number killed for the fur trade has decreased, poaching for fur continues today. Some indigenous peoples of the Arctic hunt the fox for food, however, the main issue the Arctic fox population is faced with, are the changes climate change has made to their environment. It has drastically affected the amount of prey available for them to hunt. The number one cause of unnatural death of Arctic foxes is by starvation. We hope that by reading this article about what do Arctic foxes eat, we have helped raise awareness about the importance of looking after the environment, so that the Arctic fox, and all other animal species, continue to survive and thrive.