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Mulhouse Zoo Welcomes a Family of Arctic Foxes


On April 24, an octet of Artic Fox kits was born at Mulhouse Zoo in France. While eight kits might seem like a lot, it isn't unusual for this species: Arctic Foxes may give birth to up to 20 offspring! However, they may only be able to raise two to four of their many kits successfully in the wild, depending on the availability of prey. The parents are also new arrivals at the zoo. Five-year-old mom Huslia and two-year-old father Koltik arrived from the Netherlands in March. The whole family can be seen in the zoo's new polar exhibit, which will soon house a family of Grey Owls and eventually, Polar Bears. (Not in the same enclosure, of course!) 



Photo credits: Claude Thouvenin / Mulhouse Zoo

Arctic Foxes have extremely dense, warm fur that changes color seasonally, allowing them to camouflage themselves in a changing environment. During the winter, their fur is completely snow-white. Arctic Foxes hunt lemmings and other small prey, and have been known to follow Polar Bears for scraps of seal flesh. 

Historically overexploited for their fur, Arctic Foxes are currently protected in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Because they are now common and populations seem to be stable, Arctic Foxes are a species of Least Concern on the Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, global climate change is a cause for concern. Closely adapted to the extremes of the tundra, Arctic Foxes are one of few arctic animals that truly cannot survive in any other environment.