The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It is well adapted to living in cold environments, and is best known for its thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage. It has a large and very fluffy tail.
In the wild, most individuals do not live past their first year but some exceptional ones survive up to 11 years. Its body length ranges from 18 to 27 inches, with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat.
The Arctic fox preys on many small creatures such as lemmings, voles, ringed seal pups, fish, waterfowl, and seabirds. It also eats carrion, berries, seaweed, and insects and other small invertebrates.
Arctic foxes form monogamous pairs during the breeding season and they stay together to raise their young in complex underground dens. Occasionally, other family members may assist in raising their young.
Natural predators of the Arctic fox are golden eagles, arctic wolves, polar bears, wolverines, red foxes, and grizzly bears.
The conservation status of Arctic Fox is generally good and several hundred thousand individuals are estimated to remain in total. The IUCN has assessed it as being of "least concern". However, the Scandinavian mainland population is acutely endangered, despite being legally protected from hunting and persecution for several decades. The estimate of the adult population in all of Norway, Sweden, and Finland is fewer than 200 individuals.
The world population of Arctic foxes is not endangered, but two Arctic fox subpopulations are. One is on Medny Island (Commander Islands, Russia), which was reduced by some 85–90%, to around 90 animals, as a result of mange caused by an ear tick introduced by dogs in the 1970s. The other threatened population is the one in Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kola Peninsula).