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Fox Appreciation Day
“Nothing's perfect," sighed the fox. "My life is monotonous. I hunt chickens; people hunt me. All chickens are just alike, and all men are just alike. So I'm rather bored. But if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. I'll know the sound of footsteps that will be different from all the rest. Other footsteps send me back underground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like music."
~ The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943
It's not Boxing Day! It's Foxing Day! The Arctic fox is the only land mammal native to Iceland and came to the isolated North Atlantic island at the end of the last ice age, walking over the frozen sea. Also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, these foxes live in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet, but they do not even start to shiver until the temperature drops to −70 °C (−94 °F). Among its various adaptations for survival in the cold is its dense, multilayered hair growth, which provides excellent insulation. The color of the fox's coat also determines where they are most likely to be found. The white morph mainly lives inland and blends in with the snowy tundra, while the blue morph occupies the coasts because its dark color blends in with the cliffs and rocks.The bark and scream of the fox is very loud, and often heard, but most other fox vocalizations are quieter and used for communication between individuals in close proximity. The most unusual is called "gekkering;" a guttural chattering with occasional yelps and howls! 🦊
Because Boxing Day, December 26th, used to be a day for fox hunting, we instead celebrate the intelligent fox in all its incarnations, particularly, the hardy Arctic Fox.
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. On average, Arctic foxes only live 3-4 years in the wild.
Arctic foxes must endure a temperature difference of up to 90-100°C between the external environment and their internal core temperature. To prevent heat loss, the Arctic fox curls up tightly tucking its legs and head under its body and behind its furry tail.
Arctic foxes generally eat any small animal they can find, including lemmings, voles, other rodents, hares, birds, eggs, fish, and carrion.
The color of the fox’s coat also determines where they are most likely to be found. The white morph mainly lives inland and blends in with the snowy tundra, while the blue morph occupies the coasts because its dark color blends in with the cliffs and rocks.
This tartan by Carol A.L. Martin, "represents the changing colour phases of the thick fur coat of the Arctic fox, which are shades of brown in summer and white and bluish-grey in winter. Their eyes are often a deep golden yellow. The Arctic fox is native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is the only land mammal native to Iceland."
For more on the Arctic Fox of Iceland, click the fox!