Monday, August 7, 2017

Mammal Monday -- arctic fox!

As I drove through the southern part of Iceland this past week, I was astounded by the island's natural beauty.  We hiked to waterfalls and glaciers and watched birds on the coast.  As we hiked, I was watching out for snakes in the brush, as I would here at home.  Then I realized, Iceland has much less terrestrial biodiversity than we have here in the mid-Atlantic region.  In fact, there's only one terrestrial mammal native to the island -- the arctic fox.  Usually, they look much better than this unfortunately taxidermied little guy we found at the Natural History Museum, but they're hard to see in the wild.....

Arctic foxes have specially adapted furry feet to help them walk on frozen ground and snow, and their coat color changes from dark to light to allow them to blend into the snowy winter landscape. Although in Iceland, they survive by eating birds as well as other prey, they're probably best know for their ability to hunt for prey under the snow:

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