Tiriganiaq means Arctic fox in Inuktitut.
Lemmings and birds are the favorite items on the Arctic fox's tundra menu. But the specialties are seasonal and dependent on supply. When the snow melts in the late spring, the foxes change their dinner attire so they can sneak up on nests that most likely harbor tasty meals of eggs or baby birds. In the summer, millions and millions of adult geese, swans and other water birds become temporarily flightless as they molt, preparing for their fall migration. The foxes have a smorgasbord. But when the winter arrives and most of the birds fly south, the fox is left with ptarmigan and lemmings on its plate -- if it can find and catch them. Predator and prey alike dress in white for the occasion. In some years lemming populations take a dive and the foxes have trouble surviving the long frigid winter. To compensate, they occasionally follow polar bears out onto the ice shelves. When a polar bear nabs a seal for dinner, the fox, very carefully, sneaks in to steal the leftovers. It's tricky business since, after a meal of seal, foxes make a perfect polar bear dessert.
Alaska Fish and Wildlife Service. Used with permission from teelfamily.com.
All rights reserved.
© 2007 OneWorld Classrooms. All rights reserved.