September 19, 2023

Arctic Foxes

Posted on September 19, 2023  •  2 minutes  • 233 words  • Other languages:  Italiano

Note: all the photos on this blog are Copyright © Andrea Barberio unless specified otherwise
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EDIT: this is a recap video of the Polar season 2023 from SecretAtlas, the exploration company that showed us the beauty and the fragility of the Arctic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ztQK71Fq4 .

On our last day of navigation around Svalbard we finally had a close encounter with an arctic fox! This is not the first time we saw one, but they were too far to take a decent shot or properly observe their behaviour. But at last we did!

The ones we saw were actually Spitzbergen Arctic foxes (vulpes lagopus spitzbergenensis), one of eight different subspecies of the artic fox[1] . However I have no idea about the differences between subspecies, please leave a comment if you do!

Arctic foxes are adapted the the harsh environment they live in, with thicker fur and a smaller size compared to other species of foxes, in order to retain more body heat.

They don’t always look white!

The fur color depends on the season - white during winter, darker during summer. Their skin is also dark, just like polar bears , in order to absorb more sun rays. The foxes we met had the summer white-brown fur as you can see below:

Arctic fox in summer pelage

Foxes are canids, so they share a lot with dogs. I will let you judge with your own eyes!

Arctic fox sniffing along the shore Arctic fox curiously looking at us Arctic fox scratching Arctic fox playing with kelp


  1. Top 10 facts about arctic foxes, WWF web site
  2. Growth, size, and sexual dimorphism in arctic foxes
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