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Just in time for winter: Racine Zoo welcomes new arctic foxes, Echo and Luna

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RACINE — There are some new arrivals at the Racine Zoo!

Echo and Luna are arctic foxes — a brother and sister duo!

According to zoo officials, they were born on May 20th, 2016 at the Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo in Kansas.

Echo, is known for making chatter and noise when he wants the attention of his keepers. Luna can be a bit more reserved, and will closely watch as her brother interacts with those around him. Luna is currently lighter in color compared to Echo, but both are very playful, high-spirited animals, zoo officials said.

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Zoo officials say the arctic fox is an incredibly well-adapted animal that can survive frigid arctic temperatures as low as –58°F in the treeless lands where it makes its home. They are found throughout the entire arctic tundra including Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Scandinavia, and even Iceland. They live in burrows and, in the course of a blizzard, they may tunnel into the snow for shelter. They have beautiful white fur coats that act as camouflage blending them into the snow for protection.

As the seasons change so do their coats, turning a light brown or gray to help them to hide and hunt in their natural habitat.

In winter it is much harder for the fox to hunt prey so they tend to follow polar bears. After the polar bear has finished with its kill, the arctic fox will move in and finish what scraps are left.

One of the most unique behaviors of arctic foxes is how they hunt. They have incredible hearing aided by their wide, front-facing ears, which allows them to locate the precise position of their prey beneath the snow. They are also known to eat vegetables when available. The fox’s tail, much like a cat, is to aid in balance as well as to use for warmth and coverage.

In addition to these arctic foxes, the Racine Zoo will be swapping out two male African penguins for males from the NEW Zoo in Green Bay. Mr. Bill was born at the Racine Zoo on January 7th, 2013 and Blue/Green was born on December 24th, 2001.

“The purpose of switching them is part of the SSP (Species Survival Plan) recommendations for what is best for the species and the breeding recommendations. This will allow new breeding pairs to be set up at the NEW Zoo in Green Bay and for us to continue to have our breeding pairs here at the Racine Zoo,” a zoo official said in a statement.

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The two male penguins that that will be coming to the Racine Zoo are Stanley and Dassen. Stanley was born October 11th, 2009 at the Richmond Zoo in Moseley, VA and then moved to NEW Zoo in Green Bay when he was just 1 ½ years old. Dassen was born June 29th, 2004 at the Pueblo Zoo in Pueblo, CO and moved to NEW Zoo in 2006.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Racine Zoo.