Alopex lagopus

White morph Arctic fox running in the tundra, courtesy of

The Arctic fox is a small fox that has successfully made a home for itself in the frigid temperatures of the Arctic Circle.  It is often a solitary creature, though it can be found in small family groups.  It is also called the Polar, Blue, or White fox (MacDonald, 2001) due to the two morphs, or colors, its coat can take.  The Arctic fox weighs only 4 to 20 pounds, which is lighter than most domestic breeds of dog!  However, its thick woolly coat gives it a much heavier appearance.  The length of the head and body of the Arctic fox is typically between 18 and 26.6 inches long, with the tail adding another 10 to 17 inches to the overall length (Malcolm, 2003).  The iris of its eyes is a deep golden or orange-yellow color, which is useful against the glare in the icy environment of the Arctic.  Despite the frigid waters of the Arctic, this fox swims willingly.  It is active at any time of day throughout the year, and moves very easily over ice and snow.