Fox Sounds: What sounds and noises does a fox make?

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The type of noise a fox makes depends on the situation and the reason for the noise. Both red foxes and gray foxes will squeal, bark, growl, and scream. Many people don’t know what foxes sound like since they are skittish and make their sounds at a distance from humans, making it challenging to identify the noise’s producer and witness why it was made. 

What kind of noise does a fox make?

Foxes will make unusual sounds sometimes, known as gekkering. These sounds have been compared to ducks, dogs, and owls. The type of sounds they make are unique and symbolize different meanings. They typically repeat the same sound over and over again. Some foxes use gekkering to display their dominance, and foxes will get into fights using only sounds to fight for that dominance.

A fox could also make this strange, repetitive sound if it senses trouble in its den, and this is referred to as an alarm call. This alarm call sounds like a cough up close, but from a distance, it sounds like a sharp bark. Sometimes, a fox will make sounds as a greeting to another fox, and these vocalizations sound similar to a chicken. 

fox looking into distance

Foxes release a high-pitched howl when they are mating. The mating season for foxes is in January, so that is when their howling will be heard most often. Usually, the female fox, called a vixen, will be the one howling, and the male fox will bark in response. This has been dubbed the “vixen’s scream.” The sound can be eerie and alarming, especially since it will be heard at nighttime. 

Foxes actually bark. This can symbolize playing with, calling to, or daunting other foxes. The foxes know the difference in the types of barks and understand if they are being told to go away. Foxes belong to the Canidae family, which means they are canines. Foxes are closely related to wolves and dogs, making similar sounds to these animals.

A raspy and gruff bark is a way for the fox to deter another fox or another animal. The most commonly heard bark from a fox will sound similar to a “wow” sound repeated three times. A fox’s bark can be confused with a dog’s bark, but the fox’s sounds are more high-pitched due to their small body size and sound more like a yipping noise. 

fox in heather

Foxes purr when they are relaxed and comfortable. Similar to a cat, these vibrations symbolize happiness. A mother fox tends to purr when nestled close to her cubs. The baby foxes may whimper if they need something, such as food. 

Domesticated foxes will make squeals that could be compared to high-pitched laughter. They emit these sounds when they are happy, usually when they receive belly rubs. The tame foxes that make this sound make it in hopes of prolonging the interaction with the human. They mimic the human laughter that they have heard. 

What is the noise foxes make at night?

Foxes are typically more active around seven p.m. to midnight, although that may vary depending on your area and time zone. A whole neighborhood may be awoken by the loud screaming, howling, shrieking, and squealing of a fox.

The common red fox will make noises at night no matter what season or time of year it is. Foxes create a variety of sounds that sound similar to other animals. Most of a fox’s noises will be made at night, although they occasionally may be heard during the day, and especially in the early morning. 

fox at night

Why do foxes scream at night?

Foxes are nocturnal and scream when they feel threatened or when their territory is being invaded. They make a screaming sound in an attempt to scare off an approaching predator. Mother foxes may scream to produce an alarm call to notify their cubs of danger and to tell them to go into the den or another hiding spot. 

Sometimes people refer to foxes’ mating calls as screams, too, since all the screams they produce sound similar. This mating can last more than twenty minutes, with the male and female fox screaming back and forth. 

What does it mean when a fox keeps barking?

There are a variety of reasons that a fox is barking. Foxes could bark simply as a greeting call to other foxes, or they could be barking to ward off another fox or animal. The fox will bark at a predator until it goes away, and if the other animal isn’t leaving, it will attack. 

Sometimes cubs will bark when playing and wrestling with each other. 

Foxes are able to recognize each other based on their bark, which is another reason they bark. Barking will help other foxes identify where the barking fox is. 

fox sticking out its tongue

What to do if you identify a fox sound around your house?

Although a fox’s scream or shriek may sound terrifying, no action needs to be taken. Remember that foxes are probably screaming due to breeding season, which is around springtime. Stay inside your house because if you are outside, the fox may be screaming because it feels threatened by you. Also, ensure your pets are safe inside so they won’t get attacked by the fox.

Foxes rarely attack dogs or cats but might strike if they feel threatened. Sometimes foxes are friendly and may approach you. Even if it appears unthreatening, foxes are wild animals and are therefore unpredictable, so stay silent and back up. Give the fox plenty of space and try to get inside.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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