Foxes are common in urban areas, so it’s normal to hear them making noise at night. For the most part, foxes are seen as being beautiful wild animals and they are a sight to see with their gorgeous fur and bushy tail.
However, for some homeowners, the presence of a fox can be unnerving. This is especially true if you have dogs or cats that like to play outside. Foxes can also be messy as they scavenge for food, invade your garbage bin, or steal that steak right off of your grill when you’re not paying attention!
However, the clever fox is not the only nocturnal animal known to make strange sounds at night. So, how do you decipher a fox noise from another animal outside?
That’s what we’re going to find out.
But First, Let’s Talk About Foxes
Foxes are common in urban and city areas, but you may only see.
Foxes are a member of the Canidae family, which includes the dogs and wolves. There are around 23 living species of fox worldwide, with five species being prevalent in the United States.
The five species of foxes in the United States include the red fox, the gray fox, the arctic fox, and the kit fox.
Of these fox species, only the gray fox and the red fox are common in cities and urban areas. This means that if you are hearing a fox, you’re likely hearing one of these two species.
The Red Fox
The red fox is the largest type of fox in North America, Europe and Asia, and perhaps the most famous one worldwide. Their fur is usually bright red but many variations exist from pale cream to a deep chestnut coloration. Some individuals may even have white bellies or legs, or have black fur around their neck that forms a mane. Males weigh between 11 to 24 pounds, while females weigh around 7 to 11 pounds. Red foxes live for about seven years on average but can live up to 10 years old.
The red fox is a solitary and opportunistic feeder, preying on small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and invertebrates.
The Gray Fox
The gray fox is another common species of fox found in North America. It is easily identified by its black-tipped tail and long, slim body. The gray fox has a body length of 20 to 28 inches and a tail that is 19 to 26 inches long. Their weight varies from 2 to 8 pounds but can reach up to 10 pounds. The gray fox’s fur consists of two types of hair: an undercoat, which is thick and soft, and guard hairs, which are short, stiff hairs that form an outer coat.
Gray foxes are omnivorous, with their diet consisting mostly of invertebrates, fruit and small mammals. They have been known to prey on rabbits, mice and other rodents, as well as birds and carrion.
Regardless of their species, all foxes are omnivores that live in dens and hunt small animals like rodents and insects as well as birds and fruit. They are also known to eat eggs, carrion and garbage if they can’t find better food sources, which can make them problematic for humans.
Foxes do not hibernate but they do den during cold weather so they can stay warm and protect their young from predators. Foxes are nocturnal creatures who sleep during the day in their burrows or holes for safety. They’re most active at dusk or dawn when it’s cooler outside so they don’t have to burn too much energy staying warm in their dens during hot summer months. It is during these times when you are most likely to hear fox noises.
Though foxes are predatory animals, they are small and may also find themselves as prey. Some of the most common predators for foxes include animals like coyotes, cougars, bears, eagles, and wolves.
Although foxes are beautiful and typically stay away from humans, they can become a problem for people if they are causing damage to properties or if they are posing a threat to public safety.
Foxes can cause damage to gardens and farms by digging up lawns, leaving holes and burrows. They also eat small animals such as chickens and rabbits that are kept by farmers, which can cause financial losses for them.
Foxes can sometimes pose a threat to humans as well. There have been incidents where foxes have attacked humans who go close to them during winter months when food is scarce for them. Foxes can also carry some serious diseases like rabies, which they can spread to people through bites or scratches.
If you do see or hear a fox, it’s important to keep your distance. But how do you know what a fox noise sounds like?
Keep reading to find out.
What Does A Fox Noise Sound Like – The Different Vocalizations Of A Fox
There are two types of foxes that are most common in the US, including the gray fox and the red fox, pictured above.
Identifying a fox noise can be difficult, but once you know what they sound like you’ll have no trouble determining what you are dealing with. In fact, many people say that a fox noise is similar to a dog, and this can be true, although there are several sounds that foxes make which dogs do not.
Furthermore, unlike dogs, foxes are nocturnal. This is an important bit of information to remember when learning about the fox noise spectrum and which sounds foxes make.
When listening for a fox noise, keep in mind that foxes are most active between 7PM and midnight, and their sounds begin to decrease as the clock ticks closer to sunrise.
We should also note that foxes don’t make too many different types of vocalizations. In fact, while some wild animals can make hundreds of vocalizations, adult foxes are known to only make about 12. Kits, or baby foxes, only make about eight different types of fox noises.
The below video shows a variety of a few fox noises you might hear to give you an idea of what these unique animals sound like.
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So, how do you identify a fox noise? Below are some of the most common.
Screaming is probably the most common fox noise you will hear in the middle of the night, which is unfortunate, as it is rather unnerving. A fox scream sounds like just that – a loud, long scream.
The scream is used by foxes to establish their territory, or when they feel threatened. They will also scream as a warning if they feel threatened. This scream may be followed by an attack if the approaching culprit doesn’t back off.
Another fox noise is howling. Foxes can howl for a few reasons, but one of the most common howling sounds they make is a high pitched howl they use as a mating call. Because foxes are most commonly made in mid to late January, you’re most likely to hear this call then.
Unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with this fox noise, it could be unnerving. Some have described it as sounding like a cry for help. It is known to be very long and jolting, often waking people up out of a dead sleep!
Barking is a fox noise you may have already anticipated. Like dogs, foxes bark to communicate with one another. However, unlike dogs, the foxes bark is much more raspy. This bark can be used as a way to communicate play, but it can also be used in a sense to mark the fox’s territory.
For example, foxes will bark at other foxes to tell them to get away from an area they see as their own. They will also bark at predators to deter them. Interestingly, foxes can recognize each other by the sounds of their barks. This means they can tell if a bark is from a fox they are familiar with or one that they don’t know.
Have you ever heard of gekkering? Probably not. Gekkering is a word used to describe the unique combination of vocalizations foxes use when fighting with one another. This is a fox noise that uses a combination of howls, whimpers, barks, and yelps.
Gekkering is often used as a way for foxes to show dominance over other foxes without using physical means. The dominating fox will stand on its hind legs and make this fox noise until other foxes submit.
The “Wow, wow, wow” Hoot
Is that an owl you hear or is it a fox noise? It could be tough to tell! Foxes make a fox noise that sounds similar to that of a hooting owl but also has the whine of a repeated “wow, wow, wow” sound.
This sound is most commonly made when foxes are close to one another. It’s a sound of affection or comfort, and it can sometimes even be described as a clucking sound similar to that of a duck.
Purring or Whimpering
Purring and whimpering is a fox noise and is often reserved for mother foxes and her kits, though foxes will purr if they are next to other foxes they are affectionate with. Some domesticated foxes will pur when cuddled up with their handlers.
This pur is similar to that of a cat, though it is softer and less noticeable. The vibration of the pur is also soothing to young foxes who are snuggled with their mothers.
Mother foxes will also use whimpering and whining to soothe her kits in their den. Kits use whimpering and whining like most baby animals do – to let their mother know they need something or are hungry.
Another fox noise that may surprise you with its meaning is squealing. Foxes squeal when they are excited, and is most commonly compared to the sound of a laugh. While foxes have commonly been caught making this laughing fox noise with humans after years of domestication, wild foxes are not known to make this unique sound.
Other Animals You Might Confuse For A Fox
Foxes make a variety of sounds that can easily be mistaken for other animal sounds.
Though fox noises are intriguing, they are not necessarily unique. In fact, foxes can mimic a variety of animals including owls, ducks, dogs, and even cats. This means it is very common for people to mistake a fox noise for a different animal and vise-versa.
Here are a few animals that foxes can sound like.
Dogs: A dog’s bark is similar to a fox noise, but the former has more of a howl, while the latter sounds more like a whine. Foxes also have a more raspy sounding bark than dogs. Their tone is also higher in pitch.
Cats: Cats purr and their pur is very similar to the sound of a fox noise. However, you’re not very likely to hear a fox pur unless that fox has been domesticated, so it’s not likely you will confuse a purring cat with a purring fox noise. However, if you are looking for a difference to distinguish the two, remember that cats purr more loudly than foxes do in spite of being smaller.
Horses: A horse’s neigh can be similar to a fox’s whine or cry, but the former has more of an echo, while the latter sounds more muffled. Foxes may also draw their whine out or repeat it more enthusiastically depending on their situation or reason for whining. Also remember that foxes are nocturnal and are most likely to be making a fox noise at night, while horses are not.
Rabbits: The rabbit’s squeal or scream is similar to a fox noise, but the former is higher-pitched and it has less of an echo than the latter does. Rabbits are also smaller than foxes, and thus less loud. Unlike foxes, rabbits are more active during the day. You are not as likely to hear a rabbit between the hours of 7PM and midnight (the times at which fox noises are going to be most audible) unless that rabbit has been caught by a predator.
Wolves: Wolves tend to howl when they’re calling for backup or if they’re in pain or danger, and this sound can be mistaken for that of a fox (especially if there are no other animals around). However, wolves have much deeper voices than foxes do so their cries tend to be louder than those of foxes as well
Owls: An owl’s cry can be similar to a fox noise, especially when the fox is making that “wow, wow, wow” fox noise we discussed above. However, owls sound more monotonous and less high pitched, which gives them away as owls and not foxes.
Ducks: A duck’s quack is similar to a fox’s cry, but it sounds deeper and less high pitched. The most common time you might confuse a duck for a fox noise is when a fox is gekkering, as we mentioned above.
What To Do If You Hear A Fox Noise Nearby
Though foxes are beautiful, it’s important to never approach one.
If you live in a rural area, it’s not uncommon to see a fox or two running through your backyard. These animals are generally nocturnal and tend to stay hidden during the day, so chances are good that you won’t spot them unless they are actively searching for food or shelter at night and you happen to be out.
If you do hear a fox noise nearby, it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and should be treated as such. While they may seem friendly and playful, foxes can carry diseases and may be fearful of humans. They will often attack humans if they feel threatened or if their young are nearby, so it’s best to keep your distance.
When dealing with wildlife like foxes, it’s important to know what to do if one is discovered near your home or property.
First, keep in mind that foxes are a protected species in many areas and cannot be killed unless they pose an immediate threat to people or livestock. However, there are some actions you can take if you find a fox on your property.
If you do notice a fox on your property, be sure to keep children and pets inside. Foxes may approach people if they see food or other items they want. Foxes are usually afraid of humans, but they can become aggressive if they feel threatened or cornered. If food is scarce, foxes may become more bold in looking for food and more apt to risk coming closer to humans for food.
It is never a good idea to feed a fox or any wild animal. If a fox seems overly friendly or is not as fearful as it should be around you, something could be wrong with it. Avoid going near the fox and contact your local wildlife resource.
Remove all food sources from your yard that might attract foxes, such as pet food left outside or garbage cans left open.
If you hear a fox noise or know foxes are nearby, it’s important to take steps to protect your pets and other domesticated animals on your property. Foxes are notorious for breaking into hen houses and will kill hens and eat their eggs.
Make sure all pets are inside and secured behind closed doors or gates on your property that are fox-proof and safe. If you do store pet food or domesticated animal food outdoors, be sure it is sealed in bins that are airtight.
If you find an injured or orphaned fox, contact your local animal control agency for advice on what to do next. Do not attempt to approach or pick up the fox. Remember, foxes can carry several serious diseases and parasites that can be easily transmitted to people and pets.
If you want to get rid of foxes on your property, there are several methods you can take to deter them. Instead of attempting to trap foxes and relocate them, which is not only dangerous but illegal, it’s best to use repellents like those listed below.
Best Products For Repelling A Fox And Other Unwanted Wildlife
The best way to manage a fox nearby is to use deterrents.
As we now know, foxes are a common problem for many households, causing damage to gardens and homes, digging up lawns and fouling with their droppings. They can be particularly troublesome for those who keep chickens and other small animals, as we mentioned above.
Foxes are also territorial creatures that will defend their home range against intruders. They will often mark their territory by urinating or defecating on objects around the perimeter of their home range. Foxes also have an acute sense of smell and will use this to recognise other foxes as well as to find food sources.
Luckily, there are products you can use to repel foxes. Fox repellents offer an effective way to deter foxes from entering your property that are safe, effective, and legal. However, there are many different types of repellent available, so choosing one can be confusing. Below we have listed some of the best-selling products you can choose to repel foxes in order to help you choose the right one for your needs.
American Heritage Industries Coyote Urine
American Heritage Industries Coyote Urine is an all-natural, highly effective product that helps repel foxes and other pests from your property. It’s made from real coyote urine, which makes it a very effective deterrent.
The smell of coyote urine is very strong and foxes find it offensive. They don’t want anything to do with this smell because it alludes that a predator is nearby, making them feel unsafe in the area. This also makes American Heritage Industries Coyote Urine an effective repellent against not only foxes but also other pests like raccoons, skunks, and possums.
Ultrasonic Wild Animal Repeller
Ultrasonic wild animal repellers are devices that emit high-intensity ultrasonic sound waves to deter wild animals like foxes from entering an area. The sound waves are inaudible to humans, but can be heard by wild animals such as foxes, skunks, raccoons, and rabbits, who will find the noise irritating and unpleasant, causing them to leave the area quickly.
The repellers work by emitting high-intensity ultrasonics which are inaudible to humans but can be heard by most wild animals. When a wild animal hears the sound waves it is disturbed by them and will leave the area as quickly as possible.
Bonide Wild Animal Repellent Granules
Bonide Wild Animal Repellent Granules is an environmentally friendly, nontoxic and safe product that helps to repel foxes, rabbits and other pests from your yard. This product works by emitting a harmless scent that discourages animals from returning to the area where they were applied.
This product can be used as a perimeter treatment around structures such as decks and fences to keep unwanted animals out of your yard. You can also use it on shrubs and trees as well as in flower beds and around vegetable gardens to deter rabbits and other pests from eating your plants.
Havahart Critter Ridder Motion Activated Animal Repellent
Havahart Critter Ridder Motion Activated Animal Repellent is a motion-activated repellent that keeps animals away from your home. The product is for use on residential and commercial properties and can be used to keep unwanted animals out of yards, gardens and other areas of the property.
The product comes with two AA batteries and has a range up to 30 feet. The product is designed to work in any weather condition, which makes it perfect for indoor or outdoor use.
We like that it uses harmless but startling sounds and lights to scare off unwanted animals. It can repel common animals such as foxes, raccoons, squirrels and skunks.
Other Expert Tips On Identifying And Repelling A Fox
Repelling a fox is easy so long as you use proper methods.
Foxes are known to be sly and clever. They can be difficult to spot, but if you know what to look for, it’s easier to keep one out of your yard and garden. Here are some expert tips on identifying a fox, repelling them from your property and protecting yourself and your pets against them.
First, know what to look for. Remember, foxes are nocturnal animals that live in dens or holes dug into the ground. They can be found in forests, grasslands and scrub areas. They’re also scavengers that will eat anything they come across such as insects, small mammals and fruit.
Foxes have long narrow faces with pointed noses and their ears point forward like those of dogs or cats. Their tails are bushy and often tipped with white fur which makes them easy to spot when they run away from danger. They have short legs with five toes on each foot that help them move quickly through their environment as well as climb trees easily when needed.
Foxes have excellent hearing and sight, but their sense of smell is not as good as other animals so they rely more on sound than smell when hunting prey at night. This is great news if you’re looking to repel foxes using sound repellents.
One of the best ways to keep foxes and other animals such as raccoons, skunks, possums, and coyotes at bay is to ensure your home and yard are less attractive to these pests.
You can do this by keeping up with routine landscaping to reduce potential areas of shelter for these animals. Removing excess water sources like ponds, bird baths, and water fountains can also help deter wild animals, as can ensuring you remove any potential food sources.
Potential food sources for animals like foxes include fruit from fruit trees and vegetables from vegetable gardens. You may also be providing foxes food by not securing your garbage bins properly.
Last, make sure you are implementing a form of pest control to keep foxes and other wild animals away from your property year-round. These can include sound repellents, predator decoys, scent repellents, and fencing.
If you do notice a fox or any wild animal on your property behaving strangely, it’s important to contact your local wildlife resource right away.
Best of luck and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.