At the Detroit Zoo
The Arctic Ring of Life is home to three sisters who were born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Canada. The oldest, Alex, came to the Detroit Zoo in 2008. She is considered the underdog of the three and tends to hang back on her own away from Roxanne and Moxie, who joined her here in 2010. Roxanne is sassy, smart and mischievous and takes on the role of dominant female. Her litter mate, Moxie, is skittish and the least trusting of the bunch and follows in the shadow of her sister. The Arctic Ring of Life is North America's largest polar bear exhibit, which also houses seals. This state-of-the-art, interactive facility encompasses over 4 acres of outdoor and indoor exhibits and was named the second-best exhibit at any zoo in the U.S. by The Intrepid Traveler's guide to America's Best Zoos.
The arctic fox's body is short and compact to help keep it warm during frigid temperatures. Its feet are covered in fur to provide traction on the rough tundra terrain. During the winter, its fur color is white and during the summer it turns to a brownish-grey, which allows it to remain camouflaged year round.
Scientific name: Vulpes lagopus
Continent: The northern-most parts of North America, Asia and Europe
Habitat: Arctic tundra
Size: 2-3 feet long (not including the tail); the tail can be 1 foot long
Weight: 5-20 pounds
Diet: The arctic fox is an omnivore. It prefers to eat lemmings but is also known to eat snow hares, seal pups and vegetables. Arctic foxes will follow polar bears to eat any leftovers the bears may have from a kill.
Reproduction: Gestation 52 days; five to eight kits, but can have as many as 25
Lifespan: Three to six years
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Since the arctic fox has impeccable hearing, it is able to pinpoint the exact location of prey that is under the snow. It catches its hidden prey by pouncing through the snow and landing on top of it.
The arctic fox is also known as the snow fox, polar fox or white fox.
Detroit Zoo Arctic Fox in the News
This foxy lady with the jet-black nose is named Roxie. She shares digs with twin sister, Moxie (3 years old), and big sister, Alexandra (5 years old), at the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life. Roxie and her siblings are arctic foxes, whose thick fur is bright white in the winter to blend in with the snow to protect them from predators. In summer, their coats turn brown or gray, colors similar to the Arctic tundra (their native habitat) at that time of year. (Source: Hour Detroit)