One of the most fascinating animals to study is the Arctic fox (vulpes lagopus). They’ve adapted incredibly well to live in some of the world’s harshest conditions. From year to year, and depending on where in the tundra you are, food supply might change. What do arctic foxes eat in reality, though?
Omnivores, not carnivores, are Arctic foxes. Inland regions will have small mammals, whereas coastal regions will have seabirds or fish. Berries, seaweed, dead animals’ carcasses, and other animal feces will usually be devoured by them.
Continue reading if you’re too curious to find out what these lovely arctic foxes eat, and learn all about their diet in the process.
The eating habits of arctic foxes, how they capture prey, and how they feed their young will be discussed in this article.
Are Arctic Foxes Carnivores or Omnivores?
Although arctic foxes are primarily carnivores who consume lemmings, voles, and seabirds, they will occasionally eat eggs, berries, and seaweed when their usual food is unavailable.
Those who dwell inland eat a somewhat different diet than those who dwell coastal areas.
Animals that are opportunistic omnivores are those who will eagerly accept any chance to feed, whether it is food or not.
Habits and Lifestyle
Arctic Foxes dwell in the Arctic Tundra of the Northern Hemisphere, as their name suggests. They have thick white fur that helps them blend into snow and are typically between a foot and a half and just over two feet long. In addition to blending into snow, that thick fur helps them keep warm in the harsh Arctic environment, as does their spherical form.
Arctic foxes have a variety of strategies to keep warm, despite their natural propensity for cold weather. For example, in bad weather, they’re exceptional diggers who can burrow underground. They can also slow their metabolic rate and conserve heat by lowering their energy expenditure.
Seasons do tend to lose their distinctive white fur as they change. Because snow camouflage is employed, and since it would be ineffective when snow clears from portions of the tundra during the months that follow.
Instead, to blend in with the rest of the tundra, their fur turns gray. Because they are prey on a variety of bigger creatures, such as bears, eagles, and wolves, the Arctic Foxes need this camouflage. However, when they hunt, it also aids them in concealment from their prey.
Arctic Foxes are having a hard time today due to a variety of problems, including overhunting, habitat destruction, and prey extinction. They aren’t, however, classified as endangered species. In the wild, they mature at around ten months old and live up to eleven years.
Many birds, such as the snow goose, choose to raise families in this area because of its remoteness and relative lack of predators.
Birds can easily find food in the Arctic because of its short summers and 24-hour day. They have enough food for themselves and their hungry chicks.
Because there aren’t many trees in the Arctic, birds must nest on the ground. This scenario has forced Arctic foxes to adapt.
They take an egg from the parent birds as they fly away. They flee and deposit the egg in the earth. When stored in the Arctic permafrost, a goose egg reportedly lasts up to a year, according to National Geographic.
Other types of food are buried by arctic foxes, but eggs are prefered. Caches are small mounds of food.
The noses of arctic foxes are so acute that they detect the caches by smell. Unfortunately, before the Arctic fox can smell and devour these caches, the invading red fox does.
When Do Arctic Foxes Eat?
Arctic foxes do not need to eat every day. They can dig a den where they can take a mini-hibernation for up to two weeks6 if they are struggling to find food.
Because they don’t have to be on the lookout for predators, they may slow their heart and metabolic rates enough to conserve energy. When catching prey is difficult during periods of bad weather, this is helpful. Animals that hibernate spend a limited amount of time doing so.
What do arctic foxes eat?
It’s vital to note that when we inquire about what Arctic foxes eat, we’re thinking about the harsh environment in which they live. These animals have a varied diet because of the difficult environment in which they live.
Lemmings, voles, hares, and seal pups are just a few of the tiny animals they’ll eat. Small rodents are their primary food, and the Lemming is their major source of food.
Arctic foxes have been known to devour as many as thirty lemmings in a single day, and they live in the Arctic tundra.
Other animals are the obvious answer to what Arctic foxes eat, but they will also consume insects, birds, eggs, and fish. They’ll also consume carrion, which is dead meat that has either died spontaneously or been hunted, partly consumed, and abandoned by other Arctic predators such as polar bears, wolves, and wolverines.
Fox feces and the feces of other animals have also been eaten by Arctic foxes. We don’t know why they do it, but it’s thought that it helps them regulate their salt concentrations.
When there is an abundance of food in their habitat, they will also hunt and horde any excess prey, burying it in the ground to devour on a later date.
When contemplating what Arctic foxes eat and how they hunt, we should bear in mind that they have superb hearing, which they utilize to their benefit when seeking their next meal.
They leap into the air, using the impact as they land to shatter through the snow and capture the animal beneath it, after listening for movement among rats or seal pups beneath the snow.
Tips To Feeding Arctic Foxes
It’s important to remember that Arctic Foxes are not domesticated in the same way that dogs are when it comes to feeding them.
This implies that you can’t just slap them a meal the same way you would a dog. They must eat meat, eggs, and fruit in moderation to get the whole picture. As a result, you’ll need to create a high-protein eating regimen for them initially.
It’s also vital to keep in mind that Arctic Fox pups require varying amounts of feedings throughout the day depending on their age. They’ll need four meals a day under three months, but just one meal a day by the time they’re one year old.
You might also want to feed your Arctic Fox animals or fish outside, so that cleaning up after them is simpler.
How Much Does an Arctic Fox Eat?
While various sources claim that a family of 11 arctic foxes may consume up to 60 rats per day during the summer months7, there is little information about how much an arctic fox eats.
They’ll frequently bury food when it’s abundant, so they may devour it or feed it to their young.
In the Earth or under stones in their den, arctic foxes are known for storing excess food, which can include up to 100 sea birds. They are also known for storing enough food to feed a fox throughout the winter8.
What Do Arctic Foxes Like To Eat The Most?
Arctic Foxes, who live in the Arctic Tundra, are excellent small-mammal hunters who have acquired a mastery of their prey. Lemmings and voles are two of their favorite animals.
Their diet, on the other hand, doesn’t stop there. When rodents aren’t available, birds and fish are also on the menu. Arctic Foxes will hunt seal pups if given the chance and in need of food. They are, however, a more difficult prey, so that is less common for them.
Wild Arctic Foxes are omnivores, and they consume a wide variety of foods. When food is available, they are known to hunt down nests and devour eggs, berries, and seaweed. During the winter months, they prefer to save food and gain weight.
The keeping of an Arctic Fox as a pet is not comparable to that of a dog. These animals are not domesticated in the same way, therefore it is difficult to feed them dog food. When blended with water, eggs, and berries, however, there are many high-quality dog foods that you may administer an Arctic Fox.
Feeding them tiny rodents might be a good option, although determining how much you should feed them in order to get all the nutrients they need might be difficult. It’s also vital to know that feeding your pet Arctic Fox meat should include a whole mouse. Its diet requires the organs.
Finding Food is Hard in the Arctic
Any animal, including the Arctic fox, finds life in the Arctic difficult. Summer is a season of plenty, but it is also a season of hunger.
During the winter, the Arctic gets little sunlight. During this period, any animal burns a significant number of calories while searching for food, as the distance required to find food increases each day.
The Arctic fox has a wide range of foods it can eat to survive. Since it has no idea when it will be able to find food again, it cannot afford to choose and choose.
When they can’t find food, arctic foxes store as much body fat as possible. They don’t hibernate, so during the winter, they must find food.
They eat a variety of foods in different ways. They consume any dead animals they discover or the remnants of a bigger predator’s kill, and berries and seaweed when they find them. They pursue almost any animal their size or smaller.
In preparation for the winter, they also store food.
Food To Avoid Feeding Arctic Foxes
Arctic Foxes are both a browser and a scavenger, in addition to being ordinary omnivores. They’ll eat practically anything as a wild scavenger.
In the Arctic Tundra, of course, this is severely restricted. They’re also known to consume fruit and seaweed that they have access to, in addition to their normal diet of tiny birds, eggs, and rodents.
To put it another way, an Arctic Fox can eat practically anything. Notwithstanding this, there are a few things you should not feed your Arctic Fox.
Cheap Dog Food – It may seem that getting the cheapest thing in the store is easier. They should be able to tell the difference. Grains and other fillers are found in cheap dog foods, which take up space.
They don’t have nutritional value, and they certainly aren’t what you should be feeding any dog, let alone an Arctic Fox. They might also have long-term consequences for your fox’s health.
If you want to offer your dog meat, as their natural diet would mostly comprise of this, you must make certain not to provide them processed or prepackaged meats. They don’t provide your Arctic Fox with any nutritional value, like cheap dog food.
Feeding your Arctic fox a chunk of meat or ground turkey is a good analogy for this. They’re good, but Arctic Foxes need more than what they provide in terms of nutrition.
What kind of plants do arctic foxes eat?
Arctic foxes are omnivores because they eat both animals and plants. The Arctic tundra is home to the Arctic fox. The climate in the Arctic tundra is almost desert-like, with cold winds and minimal rainfall.
Little plants barely a few centimeters high that grow closely together and are densely packed together make up the tundra vegetation. Floral plants, small shrubs, herbs, grasses, lichens, and mosses are among the approximately 1,700 species of plants that grow on the Arctic tundra.
The active layer, which thaws and refreezes each year, is covered by a sheet of permafrost that covers a thin layer of soil. As a result, this environment prevents the development of bigger plants and trees with large root systems.
Because it is easier to track and hunt prey in the slightly warmer summer months, what do Arctic foxes eat is defined by what time of year it is. Arctic foxes may feed on tundra vegetation berries, plants, and grasses during this time.
Seaweed has also been mentioned as a occasional snack, which may be due to its high salinity.
How Do Arctic Foxes Hunt?
The coat of an Arctic fox changes color according to the season, to help it blend in with its surroundings. In the winter, they’re white, and in the summer, they’re brown or grey. This enables them to approach their victim unnoticed.
They have exceptional hearing, comparable to other Canidae (dog breeds), and can hear the high-pitched noise that rats make as they scuffle through the grass or snow.
Until it is certain of the precise whereabouts of the victim, the fox will stay completely still. Once it’s certain, the fox will jump into the air and slam its head hard into the snow10 to pounce.
When food is scarce in the winter, most arctic foxes do not migrate; instead, they will go for brief 1-3 day excursions on nearby sea ice, where they will hunt polar bears and consume the corpses of seals and other animals. Polar bear feces is sometimes eaten by them.
If the polar bear is having trouble hunting its usual prey, it might switch to hunting the arctic fox instead, even though foxes are typically faster than polar bears.
They will use a similar hunting approach in coastal regions where fish is a important dietary source, using shallow rock pools. Before leaping into the pool to catch the prey, they wait until the best time. They don’t go into the water to hunt for food.
In coastal regions with less snowfall, such as Alaska and Iceland, a variation called the blue morph arctic fox is common. They don’t have the dense white winter coat of the conventional white morph, therefore they can blend in with their environment all year.
Do Arctic Foxes Eat Dirt?
Dirt isn’t a dish that Arctic Foxes enjoy. Omnivores, Arctic Foxes prefer to eat mostly meat and stay away from dirt, which is not part of their diet.