Arctic foxes, commonly known as white foxes or polar foxes (Vulpes lagopus), devour almost anything they come upon. They can’t be picky since they live in the Arctic, which is so desolate.
They frequently struggle to obtain food every day.
As a result, if you’re eager to learn what these cute arctic foxes consume, keep reading to learn everything there is to know.
Are Arctic Foxes Carnivores or Omnivores?
Although lemmings, voles, and seabirds are what arctic foxes typically consume, they are also omnivores since they will also consume eggs, berries, and seaweed when their normal diet is scarce1.
People who live inland and those who live near the seaside have different diets, but we’ll talk more about that later.
They are sometimes referred to as opportunistic omnivores, which are creatures that will gladly take advantage of any feeding opportunity that presents themselves, regardless of the type of food.
Arctic Fox Habits And Biology
Arctic Foxes are native to the Arctic Tundra in the Northern Hemisphere, as their name suggests. They typically range in length from a foot and a half to just over two feet, and their thick white fur makes them blend in with the snow.
Their rounded body and dense hair help them blend into the snow while also keeping them warm in the icy climate.
Arctic foxes have adapted naturally to the cold, but they also have additional strategies for staying warm. For instance, they make great diggers and will bury themselves in ice and snow. In order to maintain warmth, they can also slow their metabolic rate, or rate of energy consumption.
They do have a tendency to shed their distinctive white fur as the seasons change. This is due to the fact that white serves as a camouflage in snow and would lose its effectiveness during the months when portions of the tundra are cleared of snow.
Instead, to match the rest of the tundra, their fur becomes gray. The Arctic Fox has to blend in since many larger creatures, like bears, eagles, and wolves, feed on them. On the other side, it also aids in their ability to hunt while hiding from their prey.
Arctic foxes are currently suffering several difficulties because to a variety of issues, including as overhunting, habitat degradation, and a lack of prey. They are not, however, considered endangered. In the wild, they can live to be eleven years old on the older age range and mature at around 10 months old.
When Do Arctic Foxes Eat?
Arctic foxes do not require a daily meal. They can excavate a den where they can spend up to two weeks in a mini-hibernation if they are having trouble finding food.
It enables them to slow down their heart rate and metabolic rate so they may preserve energy as they do not need to be on the alert for predators. This is helpful when the weather is severe since it might be challenging to catch prey. Even though it only lasts a short while, this is comparable to creatures that hibernate.
What do arctic foxes eat?
Arctic foxes hunt tiny rodents like lemmings because they are predators. Insects, birds, eggs, and fish are also consumed by Arctic foxes.
It’s crucial to realize that when we consider the severe Arctic climate in which Arctic foxes live, we aren’t really thinking about what they consume. They eat a variety of foods because of the challenging environment they must survive in.
Typically, they will consume any tiny animal, including lemmings, voles, hares, and young seals. The Lemming is their primary prey, and they mostly hunt tiny rodents. Small rodents called lemmings inhabit the Arctic tundra, and Arctic foxes have been known to consume up to thirty of them in a single day!
What do Arctic foxes eat? The obvious response is other animals, but they will also consume fish, insects, birds, and eggs. Additionally, they will consume carrion, or dead animals that have been killed, half consumed, and left by other Arctic predators like polar bears, wolves, and wolverines.
Additionally, it has been observed that arctic foxes consume both their own and other species’ waste. Although the exact reason they do this is unknown, it has been proposed that it may assist them regulate their salt levels.
When there is an abundance of food in their area, they will also hunt and hoard any extra prey, burying it in the ground to eat later.
We should keep in mind that Arctic foxes have exceptional hearing, which they utilize to their advantage while looking for their next meal, when pondering what they eat and how they hunt.
When they hear the sound of mice or seal pups moving beneath the snow, they leap into the air and use the power of their landing to thaw the snow and capture the animal below.
How Much Does an Arctic Fox Eat?
There isn’t much information available about the size of an arctic fox’s diet, however some sources claim that a family of 11 may consume up to 60 rodents each day during the summer7.
When there is plenty of food available, they frequently bury it to eat later or to provide to their young.
Many times, Arctic foxes preserve more than 100 sea birds or enough food to sustain a fox for the full fall by burying extra food in the ground or beneath stones in their burrow.
What Do Arctic Foxes Like To Eat The Most?
Arctic foxes, who live in the Arctic tundra, are skilled predators with a keen eye for tiny rodents. Voles and lemmings are among their favorites. Their diet doesn’t stop there, either. When rodents aren’t accessible, birds and fish are additional options.
Arctic foxes would even hunt seal pups if given the chance and in need of food. However, because they are a more challenging prey, it is less often for them.
Wild Arctic foxes will consume a variety of foods because they are omnivores. When accessible, they are known to hunt for nests and consume the eggs in them as well as berries and seaweed. To prepare for the winter, they frequently stockpile food and put on weight.
The care of an Arctic Fox differs from that of a dog. Simply said, they haven’t been domesticated in the same manner as dogs, therefore you can’t just give them dog food. However, there are a number of high-quality dog meals that, when combined with water, eggs, and berries, may make up an Arctic Fox’s diet.
It could also be a good idea to feed them tiny rodents, although it can be tricky to calculate how much food they actually need to eat in order to get all the nutrients they require. Additionally, bear in mind to offer your pet Arctic Fox a whole rodent if you decide to feed it meat. The organs are necessary for its eating.
How Do Arctic Foxes Hunt?
As part of their effective concealment, Arctic foxes alter the color of their coats according to the season. In order to blend in with the snow, they are white in the winter and brown or grey in the summer. As a result, they can approach their prey covertly.
They have exceptional hearing, just like other Canidae (dog species), which enables them to detect the high-pitched sound that rodents make when they scurry across the grass or snow.
Until it is certain of the precise location of the prey, the fox will remain perfectly still. The fox will pounce once it is certain by leaping into the air and plunging its head into the snow10.
The majority of arctic foxes do not migrate during the winter months when food is limited; instead, they make brief, one to three day excursions to a nearby body of sea ice where they follow polar bears and graze on the dead seals and other animals that they leave behind. They occasionally even consume polar bear waste.
Though arctic foxes are often quicker than polar bears, they must be cautious because if a polar bear is having trouble finding its usual prey, it may opt to pursue them instead.
They will use shallow rock pools for hunting in coastal regions where fish are a major food supply. waiting for the right time to plunge their head into the water and seize the victim. To catch food, they don’t swim in the water.
In coastal regions with less snowfall, including Alaska and Iceland, a variation known as the blue morph arctic fox is widespread. They do not develop a thick white winter coat like the typical white morph, which aids in their year-round ability to blend in with their environment.
Do Arctic Foxes Eat Fish?
Yes, arctic foxes have been observed eating fish and other tidal invertebrates in coastal locations. Up to 80% of the prey items were marine-based throughout the winter, spring, and summer, according to studies on the dietary patterns of arctic foxes in Iceland.
Researchers spent 195 hours studying arctic foxes in coastal Greenland and discovered that live fish obtained there was their primary food source. They would hunt for fish at low tide in rock pools or fissures rather than entering the water to capture them.
What Meat Do Arctic Foxes Eat?
Arctic foxes consume a range of foods, including seaweed. Additionally, it is a practice to slaughter and consume deceased animals.
This animal is protected. It consumes insects, lizards, mice, eggs, chicks, birds, lizards, and even ringed seals. As they struggle to access their food sources, they may experience intense competition for food from roving red foxes.
What kind of plants do arctic foxes eat?
Arctic foxes are classified as omnivores since they consume both plants and animals. The tundra of the Arctic is home to the Arctic fox. The climate on the Arctic tundra is nearly arid due to the frigid winds and scant rainfall.
Small plants that are only a few centimeters tall, closely spaced, and grow close to the ground make up the tundra vegetation. The Arctic tundra is home to over 1,700 different types of plants, including blooming plants, tiny shrubs, herbs, grasses, lichens, and mosses.
The active layer, a small layer of soil that freezes and thaws annually, is covered by a covering of permafrost. This implies that bigger plants and trees with extensive root systems cannot flourish here.
The time of year affects what Arctic foxes consume since less snow makes it more difficult to detect and hunt animals during the somewhat warmer summer months.
Arctic foxes may consume tundra-grown berries, herbs, and grasses during this time. They have also been observed sometimes eating seaweed, which again may be owing to the high salt content of the plant.
Do Arctic Foxes Eat Dirt?
Arctic foxes do not consume dirt. Being omnivores, Arctic Foxes prefer to consume a primarily carnivorous diet, which does not include soil.
Do Arctic Foxes Eat Humans?
Yes, arctic foxes feed on tiny creatures like rodents, seabirds, fish, and marine invertebrates. They do not consume humans. If people approach within 200 meters of an Arctic fox, the animal will often hide. But those who often interact with people could grow more accepting of them.
Even so, you should exercise caution around them since they could attack if they feel threatened by you or if they have rabies, which can make them aggressive without being required.
How Do Arctic Foxes Feed Their Young?
While the father goes out to hunt or scavenge for food, the mother will stay with the tiny puppies to keep them safe from predators.
Arctic foxes start weaning as soon as their teeth appear, which is approximately 4 weeks old, and are finished by 9 weeks, as is typical in the wild12.
Cub survival rates can be extremely low, and in years with insufficient food, many will not survive at all.
It has been argued that siblings compete fiercely, which might lead to their murdering and devouring one another (siblicide). Studies, however, have disproved this notion.
Finding Food is Hard in the Arctic
Any animal can find the Arctic to be hard, including the Arctic fox. Even though the summer is a time of abundance, other periods of the year might be times of famine.
The Arctic is completely black throughout the winter. Any animal expends a lot of calories merely searching for food during this season since they have to cover a lot of ground each day.
The Arctic fox eats a broad variety of foods to stay alive. Given that it is unable to predict when it will next be able to acquire food, it cannot afford to be picky.
Arctic foxes accumulate as much body fat as they can to rely on in times of food scarcity. Because they cannot hibernate, they must obtain nourishment in the winter.
They have several ways to get food. They consume the remnants of a larger predator’s kill, any dead animals they locate, and berries and seaweed when they come upon them. They hunt nearly any animal that is their size or smaller. In preparation for the winter, they also store food.
Where Do Arctic Foxes Get Water?
Arctic foxes will nurse their young until they are weaned when they are first born (see information above). Lakes, streams, ponds, rivers, and springs are all readily accessible to arctic foxes in the summer since there are so many water sources available.
Instead of lowering their body temperature during the chilly winters, they obtain the majority of their water from dietary sources.
What is the predator of the arctic fox?
The smaller Arctic fox, which is sometimes mistaken for the bigger Arctic wolf, is actually only around the size of a domestic cat. Red foxes have been harming them over the past ten years by encroaching on their habitats and consuming their food sources.
This has been ascribed to the red fox moving farther north than it would have previously done due to the increase in global temperatures.
The Arctic fox’s fur can really adapt and change hue depending on its location to help protect it from predators. During the snowy winter months, it turns white, and in the summer, it becomes grey to match the tones of the rocks and tundra.
The Arctic fox possesses one of the warmest and thickest coats of any animal to protect it from the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic. During hunts, its tail, which is also extraordinarily thick and bushy, aids in its ability to balance when jumping.
We are aware of the foods that Arctic foxes consume, but what about their predators? Polar bears and wolves are the Arctic fox’s primary predators. The young of the Arctic fox are frequently preyed upon by snowy owls and other raptors.