When I put the word out I was moving to Yellowknife, Bob Garlick made a concerted effort to talk me out of using “icecoaster” and into “Arctic Fox” but I told him some toothless barfly with a sideline in keeping miners warm had probably registered that name back in the fifties.
Alas, seems not.
In any case, last week our A/R/finance/accountancy/money-handler-type-person came into work somewhat wide-eyed. She’s almost as new to the North as I am, and so had been rather startled to have her morning run interrupted by a, yes, fox, trotting coolly across the road for all the world as if she was gonna stop and give way to this lean and lithe critter that stood, if it had stood still, no higher than her knees, and lo that fox must have been gifted with the Second Sight for she did exactly that. And when it was out of sight, she turned around and ran back home, perhaps somewhat faster.
And the other day my roomie and I were sitting in the living room, sharing some Sauv Blanc and gossip, when she fell silent and pointed out the window, and there, trotting down the gravel driveway as if it owned it, was a tall, red fox. So now I have an answer for all my friends from the South who keep pestering me about my first wildlife sighting.
Now, these things, these arctic or sub-arctic foxes, they are not like the foxae that surrounded my town when I was growing up in Ontario: those Ontarian foxes tend to be stubbier canids altogether, resembling more the Jack Russell than the whippet.
The foxes around these parts tend to be leggier critters entirely, and much more coyotean to boot, thusly:
Neither of which is an Arctic Fox, technically speaking. Technically speaking, this is an Arctic Fox:
Which reminds me of the question that has often occurred to me since I arrived: what is the biggest predator in the Northwest Territories? I have come to the conclusion that, until I lose thirty pounds, it’s me.