What Sound Does a Fox Actually Make?

Have you ever wondered what sound a fox makes? This is the question that the viral video “The Fox” by Norwegian comedy team Ylvis asks. It’s likely that you’ve seen it.

Since it was first released in September 2013, the video has been viewed over 350 million times. It even became the top trending video of 2013 on YouTube! Like all viral videos, it quickly gained popularity and was shared by millions of people on social media.

Some people who are familiar with the song might believe that a fox says, “Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!” or maybe it’s “Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!” “Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!” and “Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!” are also possible interpretations.

But are these accurate? If you were to hear a fox in the wild, would it make any of these sounds? Unfortunately, animal experts will tell you that these are NOT the sounds that foxes make. However, wouldn’t it be fun if they did?

In Norway, the members of Ylvis might come across the arctic fox or the red fox. In the United States, you might encounter different types of foxes, such as gray foxes and kit foxes.

One thing Ylvis did get right is that foxes can produce a variety of sounds. In this way, they are similar to dogs. We might think that the sound a dog makes is “woof,” but dogs can actually make many different sounds. These include barking, whining, growling, and howling. Similarly, foxes can make several different sounds (although not as many as dogs).

Foxes belong to the Canidae family, which also includes dogs and wolves. However, due to their smaller size, they tend to hunt more like cats. Their vocalizations also resemble a combination of dog and cat sounds.

One of the most common sounds that foxes make is a raspy bark. Scientists believe that foxes use this barking sound to identify themselves and communicate with other foxes.

Another eerie sound that foxes make is a high-pitched howl that is almost like a scream. Scientists believe that this howl might be used by foxes as a mating call.

Did you click on the links to listen to these actual fox sounds? If you did, you might understand why it’s difficult to describe these sounds with simple words like “woof” or “meow.” You might also realize that you’ve never heard these sounds before.

Why is that? Foxes are common animals that can be found in various habitats around the world. So why don’t we have words for the sounds they make?

The reason why there isn’t a simple answer to the question of what sound a fox makes probably has to do with the fact that they are nocturnal wild animals. Even though they are fairly common, humans don’t often come across them. Because foxes are active at night, people often mistake their sounds for those of other nocturnal creatures, such as owls, when they do hear them.

If you had to translate the sound that a real fox makes into English, how would you spell it? And how would you then translate what you wrote into Norwegian? It’s not widely known that animals do not make the same sounds in every language.

For instance, the sound a dog makes in English may be different in other languages. In Spanish, it’s “guau,” in French, it’s “waouh,” in Italian, it’s “bau,” in Russian, it’s “gav,” and in Japanese, it’s “wan.” So, who knows? Maybe Ylvis is not completely wrong… once you consider translation!

Give It a Try

The fox living in the Wonderopolis forest suggests trying one or more of the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Listen to this recording of other sounds that a fox makes. Imagine hearing these noises while taking a walk with your family. What would you think? What might you do? Discuss your thoughts with a friend or family member. Remember, it is never safe to approach wild animals, including foxes.
  • Do you enjoy memorizing the lyrics to your favorite songs? For some songs, it is easy enough. Just memorize a few verses, and the catchy chorus probably sticks in your head from the beginning. But what about “What Does the Fox Say?” Do you think you can memorize those tricky lines that the singer claims the fox says? Give it a try! Challenge a friend or family member to help you. Watch the video and then attempt to sing along with the lyrics on the screen. Have fun!
  • Ready for a challenge? We want you to unleash your imagination and come up with creative answers to the following question: What does the rabbit say? That’s right, we are talking about that adorable little bunny rabbit. Have you ever heard a rabbit make a sound? Think about what a rabbit might sound like if it started telling you how much it loves carrots. Write down your ideas and share them with a friend or family member. Have fun thinking creatively about rabbits and their mysterious voices!

    Sources of Wonder

    • https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/what-sound-does-fox-make/ (accessed 26 Jan. 2022)
    • https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/red-fox (accessed 26 Jan. 2022)
    • www.learnersdictionary.com (accessed 26 Jan. 2022)


    1. What is the real sound that a fox makes?

    Foxes make a variety of sounds, but the most commonly recognized sound is called the “vixen scream”. It is a high-pitched, eerie scream that sounds like a woman screaming. However, this sound is mostly heard during the mating season, when male foxes are trying to attract females.

    2. Do foxes bark like dogs?

    No, foxes do not bark like dogs. While they can produce a similar sound, it is not a typical vocalization for them. Foxes are more known for their vocalizations such as the scream, growl, and howl, which are quite distinct from a dog’s bark.

    3. Can foxes purr like cats?

    No, foxes cannot purr like cats. Purring is a unique vocalization that only cats can produce. However, foxes have their own way of expressing contentment or happiness, which is through a soft, throaty noise called “chattering”. It is similar to a cat’s purr but has a different sound.

    4. Do foxes make any other sounds?

    Yes, foxes make a variety of other sounds apart from the vixen scream. They can produce a range of vocalizations such as barks, yips, whines, and even a series of short, sharp calls known as “gekkering”. These sounds are used for communication, territorial marking, and expressing different emotions.

    5. Are foxes silent animals?

    No, foxes are not completely silent animals. While they are generally quiet and stealthy, especially when hunting, they do make vocalizations to communicate with other foxes or express their emotions. However, they are not as vocal as some other animals, and their sounds are often heard during the night.

    6. Can foxes imitate human sounds?

    While foxes are known for their ability to mimic certain sounds, they do not typically imitate human sounds. They are more likely to mimic the sounds of other animals, especially birds, to lure their prey. However, it is rare for them to imitate human voices or sounds.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *