Guest Videos: Iceland’s Fox

We’ve recently met Iceland through its people and volcanoes.

But there is one more point of view to explore — that of its only native land mammal (link doesn’t imply endorsement of that site’s commercial stuff):

Cutest. Foxes. In. The. World.

Here is a video from the southern coast, showing the fox’s more typical winter-white/summer-dark fur transition and also showing some of the natural ecosystem here.

How endangered, really, are Iceland’s foxes?

…Most Arctic Fox populations are known to feed on rodents, particularly lemmings, and their population densities highly fluctuate with prey availability (5). However, in Iceland there are few rodents (only the introduced woodland mouse) so Arctic Foxes instead are mainly coastal predators feeding on seabirds, seal carcasses, fish, and marine invertebrates (3). This distinctive opportunistic hunting life history allows the Icelandic Arctic Fox populations to remain relatively stable compared to populations in other demographics…

…Currently there is no need for conservation efforts for the Arctic Fox in Iceland and hunting of the foxes is still common practice, especially in farming communities. But in recent years these local ‘pests’ have become the star of wildlife tourism in Iceland. During my extended trip to the Westfjords of Iceland I had the opportunity to visit the Arctic Fox Center in Sudavik to learn about these furry animals and come face to face with live Arctic Foxes.

Skaryssa Arnett, link added.

Lagniappe: This time, it’s just an idea, that a land bridge connected eastern North America and western Eurasia early in the Age of Mammals.

It’s not as recent and nowhere near as famous as the Bering land bridge that was open at times between eastern Eurasia and western North America during the ice ages.

The Thule land bridge existed back when distant carnivoran ancestors of dogs — called miacids — evolved in North America.

This was a time when the planet was much warmer than it is now, enabling quite a lot of biodiversity up near the poles.

So lots of temperate-climate beasties, including miacids, were able to migrate into Europe along land here — though probably not Iceland, which is younger than that.

The miacid link I used states that cats evolved from miacids, too. Haven’t visited this topic for a while, but I think it’s not a consensus yet. AFAIK, dogs evolved in North America from Miacis, definitely, but cats might have had a different ancestor over in Asia. Maybe.

Just wanted you to know that the cat-evolution series is still simmering on the back burner.


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