What’s the furthest you’ve ever walked in a day? What about every day for nearly a quarter of a year? Have you ever crossed continents and effectively half the globe? Moved from the Eastern to the Western Hemisphere? Me neither. But this arctic fox set about on an incredible journey that astounded scientists beyond belief. But their data didn’t lie.
The young female was being tracked by scientists. They attached a tracking collar to the arctic fox and released where they found her in Svalbard, Norway. But, what happened next was completely unexpected.
The plucky fox travelled all the way from Norway to Canada by foot (or by paw?) This took her 3,500 kilometers, or 2,175 miles and 76 days. That’s an average of 46.3 km (28.8 miles) every day, but her peak was a mammoth 155km (96.3 miles). This is faster than any fox has ever travelled before, and the scientists were amazed.
“We didn’t think it was true,” Norwegian Polar Institute researcher Eva Fuglei said. But, they checked with ice thickness and other possibilities and worked out there was no other way! She couldn’t have hitched a ride on a boat or anything. The scientists are certain she walked the whole way.
Why Did She Do It?
When asked why they thought she completed the mammoth trek, they believed that she was motivated by a lack of food in Svalbard. However, she will have to change her diet with her environment. In Norway, the coastal land lends itself to hunting marine creatures, whereas arctic fox food in Canada includes mostly land mammals such as lemmings.
However, this may be the last time an arctic fox attempts this journey, as the sea ice she used to walk across is melting fast.
What do you think of this epic journey? Let us know in the comments, and share with your family and friends! You can check out similar stories on Happiest, like this one about a baby’s epic dancing.
Photos courtesy of Jon Leithe/Norwegian Polar Institute