What does the fox say?

By now, you have probably heard of this silly (but hilarious) video that’s been making the rounds of the interwebs lately:

It’s pretty catchy, not just because it’s ridiculous, but because it’s a pretty good question.  I mean, how many of you out there have actually ever heard a fox?

The sounds of the bush are one of the many, many things I miss being back here in civilization. From my slightly sketchy corner of Saint Paul, I hear fire crackers and unmuffled engines roaring. Occasionally I get chattered at by an angry squirrel in the back yard. But that’s about it. Nothing like the otherworldly chorus of the Serengeti savanna that Lucy so beautifully described.

The sounds really are incredible and often unbelievable, and I thought I’d share some of them with you. I couldn’t actually figure out how to upload audio files, so I scoured Youtube for the best audio clips I could find and embedded them as videos here.

Zebras: Nothing like horses, these stripy equids sound something like a braying donkey crossed with a barking dog.

Wildebeest: I believe that somewhere in the annals of Zooniverse blogs, there is an audio or video clip of me doing a wildebeest impression. This is better.

Hyenas: Despite being hell-bent on devouring all of my camera traps, these guys are pretty cool. They have a rather large repertoire of very…unusual…vocalizations that are used to communicate in a number of situations. The whoop, which you hear at 0:05 and 0:55, is a long-distance call often used to rally scattered clan members. The laugh at 2:33 is a sign of nervousness or submission. Similar to human voices, hyena vocalizations are individually recognizable to clan-mates. To learn more about hyena vocalizations, check out this blog by hyena expert and director of Masai Mara’s long-term hyena project, Kay Holekamp.

Lions: And finally, for the best, non-hollywood lion roar, scroll about halfway down through our lion research center’s page. This is what they really sound like.

I’ll take any of these noises over the sounds of the city any day.

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About ali swanson

I'm an ecologist studying how large carnivores coexist. I spend way too much of my time trying to stop hyenas and elephants from munching my camera traps!

2 responses to “What does the fox say?”

  1. william garner says :

    Red foxes live in the woods behind our house. during mating season they make a scream that sounds like a person being murdered. The first time we heard it it made the hair stand up on our necks.

  2. momandpop71 says :

    If you ever one to get a way from it come to Spring City here in our little town you have deer eating in our back yard, can see a pig,chicken and goat munching lunch together at the side of the road, of course we occasionally have a mountain lion who likes to visit a gas station or hide on someones back porch but that’s about as wild as it gets, but you can see the stars, here crikets watch turkey buzzards soaring on wind currants, and declare war on chicken hawks who think your chickens would make a tasty meal, so have bedroom with great mattress rent for free

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