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Hunting Snowfox

The Hunting Snowfox lives in the Kala region, the northernmost continent of Hesli. There they live with the Barions who use them to hunt Kala Wild Game. Their thick and furry coat gives them protection against the dreadful cold while keeping their agility and nimbleness for hunting prey.  
Look mommy! So fluffy! Can I have him? Pleeeaaaasssseeeeee?
— A Barion child seeing her first snow fox
 

Barions

Main Article: Barions

Snow foxes used to hunt for themselves in the Kala region until the Barions found them. The Barions were survivors from a long-lasting conflict and escaped to the north, where they figured nobody would find them or look for them. While battling the cold, the Barions observed and attempted to replicate the foxes' hunting strategy. However, their own clothing was getting in the way. The thick winter clothing took away the agility for the hunt. Thus, after a while, they started to capture and train them for their own gains.  

Near Extinction

Main Article: Breeding and Releasing Snow Foxes

The Barions were wholly dependent on the Hunting Snowfox for food. Therefore, they started capturing and training them. That lead to a fast decline in wild snow foxes which almost resulted in conflicts between villages. After a regional meeting with all the village heads, the Barions agreed that this couldn't continue. They created a plan to balance using the snow foxes for the hunt and what nature really needed.   The core idea they came up with was quite simple, really. They started breeding the Hunting Snowfoxes. Every litter of cubs would be cared for by members and foxes of the village until they were ready to begin their training (around 6 months old). At that point, they've learned everything they need to know to survive in the wild. Once the young adults reach this phase, the Barions free half of the litter in the wild while keeping the other half for training.  

Village Life

The Hunting Snowfox provides a lifeline for the village with food and trade ware. Therefore, everyone in the village respects the snow foxes. Children learn from a young age to always respect them and appreciate their contribution. They need to develop that love for the foxes to become capable trainers or carers. Because, when the foxes are in the village, they are part of the community. They bring the food, so the villagers provide them with food and shelter.  

Training

Main Article: Hunting Snowfox

When a Hunting Snowfox reaches the young adult stage at six months old, it is time to start the training. While they have learned from their parents how to hunt and fend for themselves in the wild, living with humans and gnomes is still different. They must learn to trust the people around them. Sometimes, even with the training, the fox doesn't develop any sense of trust. Instead of outcasting those, the trainers try to find a wild pack and release the fox there to resume the rest of its life in the wild.   Other than that, the training covers the following subjects:
  • Barion Trust;
  • Formation Training;
  • Hunting Training;
  • Resource Training.
  After the young foxes have completed their training, they participate in the Rite of Companionship with Barion children to show that they are up to the tasks at hand.  

The Hunt

Whenever they go on a hunt, the Hunting Snowfoxes always go in a pack of roughly 8 to 14 foxes. With this many, they can cover a large area when they are in search of their prey. Their excellent sense of smell and keen eyes allow them to spot prey from kilometers away. Once spotted, they form a huge circle to sneak towards their prey. When it realises the presence of the foxes, it is usually too late. The foxes are close and have tightened the circle forming a net around their quarry.
It is almost impossible to escape at this point. In most cases, the prey will try to escape the net by running around and trying to dodge the foxes. However, the pack is large in number allowing them to use a double circle tactic. The first circle captures the prey, the second circle is the safety net for when the quarry tries to escape and breaks through the first one. The foxes use this tactic with most of their preferred game, using variations of it depending on what they are hunting.   The foxes primarily target Kala Hares, Kala Pigeons, Kala Seals, and Kala Lemmings. For all of them, except the lemmings, they use a variation of the double circle tactic that gives them at least 80% chance of a successful hunt. For the hares, it is the standard double circle tactic. With the pigeons, they apply the tactic quicker, using the first circle to gain on the bird and the second circle to jump on it to prevent it from flying away. With the seal, they try to position the second circle on the side of the ice hole. Once, ready, they lunge with three foxes at the seal in an attempt to block the escape either by sliding over it, or accidentally falling into it.   Sometimes, none of the primary targets are in the vicinity. If a hunt takes too long, the Hunting Snowfox will start targeting other game or their food, even ones that are much bigger than themselves. First, they go for slightly bigger prey, and slowly build up as the days trickle away. When the need arises in such cases, the foxes are capable of taking down a massive Kala Bear, supplying their village (and thus themselves) with food for almost a month.

Basic Information

Anatomy

The hunting snow fox is a light four-legged animal. Their paws are slightly larger than the usual <fox>, leaving behind a bigger footprint. Where the <fox> has a print of 6.5cm by 4.5cm, the snow fox is 8cm by 5cm in size. The larger surface area of their feet combined with their light weight gives them a significant advantage when strolling over the snow-covered plains of the Kala region. The fur is entirely white, which allows them to blend in with their surroundings. It is helpful for the hunt as prey won't see them coming easily, yet it is also helpful to hide from their hunters. In addition to camouflage, the thick coat also provides them with the warmth to survive the bearing colds of the region.  
See how they tuck their paws and head under the belly and tail? That's how they minimise heatloss during the cold nights here in the region. Their second best trick is finding a spot of the wind. Do both, and you'll be relatively well off out there.
— Barion adult explaining children how to survive in the Kala

Genetics and Reproduction

Hunting snow foxes are loyal companions, both to their Barion and snow fox partners. Therefore, the foxes have an intimate and lengthy ritual to find a partner. While male snow foxes are highly territorial, they are aware that working together gives them a higher chance of survival.
During the mating season, some will stroll in packs for resources and others will build dens and nests for the females to give birth to the pups. After the shelters are finished, and all the males are back, the females inspect them. It is vital to let the female be, as she wants to look around on her own. Any male that tries to sway her gets a giant paw in the face. He just lost all chances with her. After inspection, the females will wander around the males to pick a mate.
The last step to finalise the bonding between the foxes is the mating dance. At this point, the male will lure the female with careful walking and nudging to the den. It is a cosy dance and very intimate. Once arrived at the nest, the foxes will curl up for the night.   The gestation period is roughly 50 to 60 days. During that time, the female snow fox uses a lot of energy. Therefore, the male cares constantly for her, providing her with food, warmth and protection. Starting the 40th day, the female stays in the den until the pups are born. One litter can contain up to 15 foxes. Once born, the parents are constantly on the hunt to provide their pups with enough food. These younglings come out with black fur making it easy for the parents to spot them if they try to get out of the den.

Growth Rate & Stages

The first four weeks are most important; the pups develop their first layer of fat and their first grey coat. This fur does not provide complete protection during the winter months but is sufficient for the summer. It is also a visual signal toward the other snow foxes that they are still young pups who keep an eye out for the entire pack and their litters. During this period, all the males that helped build the dens behave like one big family to look out for the pups. Once the younglings have their grey coat, they start leaving the nest to play outside with their brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.   When they are ten weeks old, a lush white winter coat has replaced the grey coat. The pups are almost fully grown by this point. They start going along with the pack to learn how to hunt from the adults. Their sense of smell is still developing at this stage and will roughly do so for the next ten weeks. Their eyesight is adjusting slightly, and their practice with the adults will help speed it up.   Once a pup is six months old, he is finally a young adult. Their nose and eyes are now fully developed with the extraordinary eyesight and smell they are known for. They now have a thick layer of fat and fur to protect themselves from the cold. Their instinct knows when and how to retain heat. The adults have taught them where and how to find prey, look for them, and capture them. At this point, they can become part of the pack or leave to set up their own.

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

With a monogamous environment such as the Kala region where just about everything is white, the hunting snow fox has to rely on its senses to find prey. First off, their eyesight is well above average in this environment. Because everything around them is white, the snow fox has developed black and white vision. They can spot slight contrast differences from meters away. That way, they can find small animals running over the snowy plains and even see the condense of breathing from a great distance.   Aside from their eyesight, the snow fox has an extraordinary sense of smell. They can smell small animals buried meters deep into the snow from quite a distance away. If they do not smell anything under the snow, they can still smell animals kilometers away that are walking or grazing around. A great way they use their skill is to scavenge around for food. A Kala Bear can take down a big prey and leave behind huge chunks of food they don't want. The foxes can smell these remains from great distances, immediately setting out to find them.  
Scientific Name
Canidae Vulpes Lagopus
Lifespan
15 years
Average Height
25 - 30cm
Average Weight
Male: 3.5kg
Female: 2.9kg
Average Length
Male: 46 - 68cm
Female: 41 - 55cm
Tail: 30cm
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities
Discovered by
Table of Contents

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Cover image: Hesli Banner by ShadowPhoenix

Comments

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5 Jul, 2021 12:03

Interesting history and treaty between the two species. I also love the concept of naming the wildlife after the region they are in, keeps it simple and effective for readers. Happy SummerCamp ShadowPhoenix ^^

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5 Jul, 2021 14:36

Interesting how their use lead to their near extinction like that! But I'm glad the little fellas made it :D   Are they part of any myths or legends? Are their claws, teeth, or fur used for anything? Or are they so precious that it's taboo to use those?

5 Jul, 2021 15:24

Me too! ^^ I haven't really thought about the other questions, but that certainly gives me some room to think and expand on the article. Thank you! :D

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!
26 Jul, 2021 18:05

Love the additional information. Since you went into detail on their hunts, are there any natural predators hunting these snowfoxes?

Thrilled to be here. Check out My SummerCamp 2021 Progress if you are interested :D
10 Aug, 2021 18:08

Thank you! I haven't thought about their natural predators yet, good one!

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!
Master PBE
William Belley
1 Aug, 2021 19:44

Legit had the exact same reaction as the barion child quote in the beginning. Images had a lot to the article's fluff value. The hunting aspect is well explained. As for the measures they have done to reduce wild fox exploitation, does everyone mostly follows well those ? Can poachers make a profit regionally or is it illegal and too dangerous/taboo to do so in the culture around ? (dont edit the article yet doe ! it can void your participation for the ceremony prices to come)   -Happy Summercamp!

2 Aug, 2021 06:13

Hihi, it was my reaction too, so I had to put it in there! :D   I do have ideas for hunting the snow fox itself. For example, Barions aren't allowed to kill a snow fox, because it is their lifeline. Therefore, if one does kill a fox, they'll be exiled or something... There is indeed a lot of room to expand there. Thank you! :D

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!
8 Aug, 2021 15:42

Wish I could like this again but I can't :( The amount of detail is astonishing, you should be really proud of this!

10 Aug, 2021 18:09

Thank you so much! It's definitely an article that I'm most fond of. I'd say it's probably the best article I've written for summer camp! ^^

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!
8 Aug, 2021 15:43

What a detailed article! I really had to chuckle when I read "He just lost all chances with her.". :)   I really like the Main Article links like Wikipedia. Makes it clear where we can get even more info!

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
10 Aug, 2021 18:06

Hihi, thank you! ^^   I've taken a liking to the Wikipedia style as well. It helps not to bog down the article with too much information, while able to provide a way to give too much information if the readers wants to delve into it. ^^

Hey you! Yes, you! You're writing amazing articles, don't forget that!