Arctic Fox Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Arctic Fox / White Fox / Polar Fox / Snow Fox

Scientific Name:

Vulpes lagopus

Wild Status:

Least Concern


Arctic tundra and some boreal forests


Countries in Europe, Asia, and North America


Burrows, or tunneling in snow

Life Span:

3-4 years in the wild


18-27 inches long

Cool Facts:

  • They are sometimes known as the "lemming fox" because their main prey in the tundra is the lemming.
  • The Arctic Fox is the only canine that has fur covering their foot pads, and their bodies are generally round in shape to minimize body heat loss.
  • They are the only known land mammals that are native to Iceland.
  • Arctic Foxes with white coats live in the snowy tundra, while those that live near rocks and cliffs usually have a blue coloration.
  • The sense of smell of the Arctic Fox is so strong they can detect a seal lair underneath almost 5 feet of snow.


The Arctic Fox is a small fox well adapted to cold temperatures, and native to Arctic regions. Its fur is very warm and thick, and can take on different colors depending on the environment to help with camouflaging. The diet of the Arctic Fox mainly consists of any small animals it can find, including rodents such as lemmings and voles, and then fish, birds, and eggs. The Arctic Fox has a very keen sense of smell, and while its hearing is strong like most canines, their hearing is still less sensitive than a domestic dog. Females will have 5-8 pups in spring, and then the parents will raise the pups together during summer. Although the Arctic Fox does not hibernate, in autumn they will build up fat to help stay warm during winter where food is often scarce.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Canidae Genus: Vulpes Species: V. lagopus

Conservation & Helping:

The Arctic Fox is of Least Concern on the endangered species list, however it is estimated that there are less than 200 individuals in all of Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The species has been legally protected for hunting for several decades.

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