Skip to Content

Why Do Foxes Scream?

A fox screaming at night might sound like a real horror movie is being filmed outside your house. There are a few reasons why foxes scream, and in this article, I wanted to explain some of these reasons.

Foxes can normally be heard screaming at night. This is to attract a mate but is also made during mating. Foxes also scream to communicate with other foxes. Their screams can also be used to warn away predators.

If you want to know more about why foxes scream, please read on for more details. 

Do you know what fox cubs eat? Find out here

Why Do Foxes Scream At Night?

Foxes can be heard screaming at night to attract a mate and scream while mating. Foxes also scream to communicate with other foxes, but they can also be used to warn away predators.

Foxes Sound Like A Woman Screaming

If you have ever been woken up late at night by a fox screaming, then you may have thought that it was a woman screaming. The sound of the fox is very similar, and when disturbed from your sleep, it can be very disorienting.

Several Police officers I have talked to have said that they have all been out to areas after the public has alerted them, only to hear a fox screaming when they get there. Even they say that it is very similar, so if you do hear a scream at night, try to make sure it isn’t a fox before calling the Police.


Foxes are nocturnal animals. Most nights are spent hunting for food, but during the mating period, foxes will use the scream to find prospective mates

The mating season is at its peak in January. Red foxes often scream while mating. Both genders can scream, although vixens use this call to lure male foxes to them for mating. 

The vixen screams to let the male know she is ready to mate. A bark from the male often answers these screams. 

Males have also been found to make the screaming sound occasionally. A short and explosive scream is usually an aggressive male warning its rivals to stay away from its mate.

I love this next video. There is a reason it has been viewed over 65 million times.

Do you know how good a fox’s senses are?  Find out here

When you hear a fox scream, it is generally because the mating season has arrived. Screams are the love calls of foxes. Screaming is done before and after attempts at copulation.

Vixens are most receptive to fertilization for as little as three days in midwinter. Due to this, if a male wants to deter his rivals and ensure his paternity for the spring cubs, he needs to shadow his intended partner closely.

A vixen may rebuff an amorous male with snarls and yelps before a successful mating. Even when mating has finished, the screams can continue as the foxes lock together.

Mating occurs between the pair, tail to tail, in a ‘tied’ position. This can take around 20 minutes or longer, during which the female continues to scream. When the mating is over, the vixen prepares a place for her spring litter.


Foxes are intelligent animals and can communicate and cooperate with others. Foxes have some strange behaviors, but there is a purpose to everything they do.

Many assume that foxes scream because they are fighting or crying out in pain, but this is not the case. Foxes use a scream to contact each other. 

Foxes usually live alone, but when they want to locate another family member, they use the scream as a means of communication. Screaming is a part of a fox’s social interaction. 

Want to know how red foxes survive in winter? Find out here.

Territorial Warning

It is not only during the process of mating that foxes scream. When male foxes have competitors, they scream to assert a claim on their turf. Foxes are extremely territorial.

Another reason foxes scream during the hours of the night is to protect their young. If they feel that intruders are invading their lair, they will scream to ward them off. When screaming at intruders, it is not just the females who will scream.

Males will also join in, giving a short scream of aggression. If the scream does not deter the predator, male foxes may attack.

Foxes scream at night when they are claiming their territory from other foxes. They do not want other foxes to enter their domain, and they try to prevent the invasion by screaming. If you are out walking and hear a fox screaming, you may be close to their den.

Foxes communicate using sound, smell, and body language.  Find out more here

Frightened Or Shocked

Foxes scream when they are frightened or shocked. Foxes can be prey just like other smaller animals on the food chain. Wolves and coyotes are some of the common predators of foxes, posing the greatest danger.

If you hear a fox screaming at night, you don’t have to worry about it. It is perfectly normal for a fox to scream. It will be deafening and high-pitched, but this is a normal, natural sound.

Foxes are busy in the summer.  Find out why here.

What Does A Fox Scream Sound Like?

A fox scream is high-pitched, husky, and monosyllabic. Foxes scream in sets, stopping and starting again in 3 to 10-second intervals. 

People have described the screams of a fox in many different ways. However, all agree that their screams are deafening, terrifying, and high-pitched.

The sound is a shrill scream that sounds like someone crying for help. It can be very frightening to hear such screams when lying in bed at night.

Some have described the scream as sounding like a human baby. Hearing it, you may initially suspect that someone is screaming for help. The scream of a fox sounds like a human scream.

People have sometimes called the police after hearing the scream of a fox, thinking that someone in distress made them. The screams can be incredibly unsettling and are one reason people buy fox repellant for their yards.

Foxes use the Earth’s magnetic force to navigate. Find out more here.

These noises are often heard in urban places during winter. This is not because foxes are more vocal during this time of the year. Their screams travel further because of the cold air and lack of vegetation.


Like dogs, foxes have a wide variety of vocalizations. Dogs are known to bark, but dogs also make other kinds of sounds. Dogs can be heard howling, yelping, growling, and whining, along with other sounds. The same is also true of foxes. 

Foxes are capable of making a lot of different sounds and vocalizations. However, the sound of a fox is much higher in pitch than a dog’s, and this is one of the reasons we can often hear them scream.

Foxes can be especially noisy during the mating season. However, during other times of the year, they go mostly unnoticed. Foxes make around thirty different sounds that they use as a means of communicating with each other. 

Male foxes, when proclaiming their territory, are known to make a sound that is a triple-bark. Foxes also make a loud a-woo’ howl that sounds similar to a dog howling.

Foxes are more abundant in summer than in other seasons.  Find out why in this article I wrote

Foxes growl when they are ready to fight another over territory or a female.  When willing to surrender to a dominant fox, they whine and whimper. Foxes making these sounds do not wish to be aggressive. 

A whimpering sound is used by a fox cub to let its parents know when they are hungry or cold. Cubs often use these sounds to bring attention to themselves.

Foxes do bark, and it sounds like a dog bark. Foxes usually bark when they are suddenly surprised. They do this to alert other foxes in the area that something is wrong.

Foxes also growl, and like dogs, they will growl for the same reason. When a fox feels threatened, it will growl at a predator. Foxes will growl while taking a defensive posture. This posture will let the other animal know they are willing to fight. Foxes would, however, prefer the animal runs away rather than attack.

The most common sound you hear from a fox is a scream. All species of foxes are capable of screaming. However, the red fox is the most noted for this noise as they are the most common species in urban areas.

Red foxes can be very vocal. They are widely known for their shrill screaming sound, which you generally hear during the night. 

If you have any experience with foxes coming into your garden or in your neighborhood, then you may be familiar with this noise. If not, you may think someone is getting attacked outside your window.

Want to know more about how fox cubs learn. Find out here.

What Do Foxes Look Like?

Foxes are dog-like in appearance, with sharp-pointed faces and ears. They have an agile and lightly built bodies, and male foxes are slightly larger than females. A mature fox usually weighs between 8 and 12 pounds and is between 48 and 57 inches long.

There are several color variations, but the most common are shades of red. Foxes have a faint dark red line running along their back. They have black paws, black behind the ears, a white underside and throat, a faint black muzzle, a white tail tip, and white stockings.

Foxes can generally be seen at night, but you can also see them during the daytime. Howling normally takes place at night. They are omnivorous animals, eating bugs, shrews, mice, snakes, worms, seeds, and fruits.

Foxes are not especially choosy when it comes to food. They can often be seen rummaging through trash cans for food. Foxes are normally seen on their own.

References And Further Reading: