arctic fox (Alopex Lagopus) is believed to have occupied Iceland since
the end of the last cold epoch of the Ice Age.
It supposedly followed the retreat of the ice and crossed over on
ice bridges, but possibly quite a few were later brought with the ice
flows from East Greenland. About
67% of the population are of the “blue” variety.
Population fluctuations are relatively small, and the average
litter consists of 4-5 cubs, which both parents rear, sometimes with the
help of one-year-old vixens.
arctic fox has been hunted from the start of human inhabitancy in the
country, mostly for its fur and the purported killing of sheep.
The first legislation prescribing methods of its extermination
was passed in 1295. During
the 20th century, the fox killed less sheep and it relies
more or less on its natural prey for sustenance as before.
The most probable reason for these changes is the improvement in
sheep-farming practices during the 20th century.
arctic fox is spread all over the country, in the mountainous as well as
in the coastal areas, where the greater part of the stock relies on prey
and food swept ashore by the waves of the ocean.
The fox is a shy animal and not often to be seen, except in
remote, uninhabited areas and national parks, where it somehow has
developed a feeling of security.