What Sounds Do Foxes Say?


Quick Answer

The red fox has 28 vocalizations, including barks, growls, whines, cackles and screams. Fox vocalizations depend on the situation and what the fox needs to communicate.

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Full Answer

The red fox is one of the most common fox species and, with a geographic distribution from the Arctic circle to northern Africa and Central America, it has the widest range of the world's canids. Red foxes have a vast repertoire of vocalizations. It is even possible to distinguish individual foxes based on their vocalizations.

Like many other canines, red foxes bark. Barks are useful for determining the status of intruders to a fox's territory. Foxes recognize the answering barks of their neighbors and are more tolerant of animals they recognize. If the intruder is an unknown animal, barks become more aggressive and may turn to growls. During close contact disputes, foxes chatter gutturally. Biologists sometimes refer to this odd sound as gekkering. Cackles, whines and squeals are typical sounds during play between cubs or adults. By far the most notable and alarming of fox vocalizations is the vixen scream. Females use this harsh scream to attract mates, but males occasionally scream, too. Unfortunately for nearby humans, the vixen scream often sounds similar to a human woman or child in distress.

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