What makes a fox crazy? Too much gas


A large group of snowmobilers probably won’t be shocked to see all those engines affecting the behavior of nearby wildlife. But a new study suggests the ruckus is more of a nuisance than existential threat for at least one group of animals.

Researchers who set up 20 cameras that took pictures of snowmobiles every five minutes in two areas of Nordenskiöld Land – one with heavy traffic, one with light – discovered “both changed behavior and limited activity” of Arctic foxes in the busier area, according to the Norwegian Polar Institute study published last week.

However, “the study documents no correlation between Arctic fox reproduction and survival in relation to current traffic levels.” At the same time, the researchers noted other factors such as climate change and pollution may make snowmobile traffic more of a threat in the future.