Thursday, 9 January 2020

Blood-curdling screams in the night

Here in the remote wilderness of central Newcastle (less than a mile from the city centre), this can be a disturbing time of year; since the night is often shattered, and I am started from sleep, by blood-curdling howls that sound exactly as if somebody (or some-thing) was being painfully murdered - except that it goes on and on...

It is, of course, the urban fox; and this is the mating season.

To get some idea of the sound, try these videos... But I have to say, our foxes sound a lot scarier than any of these examples.

It truly is 'the call of the wild' - and to hear this in the early hours of the morning through the open window, sounding near and loud, is suddenly to be projected mentally into a primal situation; as if I was alone in the middle of nowhere.

11 comments:

dearieme said...

Red Deer and Urban Foxes: vermin. Kill 'em.

Unless, of course, the foxes do a good job on rats. Do they?

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - I've seen a couple of rats crossing the garden, but only a couple; so maybe the foxes are eating them. The foxes certainly look pretty well fed. I used to see them more often until I blocked the holes under the fence, because they would dig holes in the lawn. They aren't afraid of humans, and the vixens will bring their cubs into gardens to play with them - noisy, but the cubs are very cute.

Matthew T said...

Here, the more deer you have the more foxes you want, because the foxes eat the mice that carry the "deer" tick which hosts Lyme disease.

I remember going hiking in remote Scotland, and all of a sudden stopping, mouth agape, as I realized, even if I get lost out here there aren't any wild animals that can hurt me...

Interdimensional Spiritualwarrior said...

I didn’t realise red deer, were considered vermin. I was unaware actually, of any colouring identification of deer. I assumed they were all lovely, to be valued, protected.

Come to think of it. Deer I see dashing across the road headlights momentarily, in north Northumberland. Aren’t Red. I didn’t realise red deer, vermin, existed.
The Deer I’ve seen with my own eyes are a more light light brown with some white, and very beautiful. If they were tame enough though, I wouldn’t want to stroke pat cuddle them like a Labrador dog for example. Because I’ve read, Deer have ticks possibly Lyme ticks.

But as well. Neurosurgeon Dr Jack Kruse in NOLA. Has spoken on FB And elsewhere. How it’s Flicker, flicker rate, from screens technology artificial lights. Drives fuels Lyme disease. However the modern medical system doesn’t want to go there, consider that Paradigm.

But back to urban foxes and red deer. I didn’t realise these were considered vermin.

There must be no foxes round the back of Clayton st West where I lived back in 2012, the gardens, entrance I had to use backing onto Waterloo St apartments. The rats weren’t scared of humans at all. All the dumpsters, and students leaving rubbish dumped on the ground too. Seeing the rats wasn’t nice at all. So no urban foxes were around the back of Clayton at west from 2012.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I never knew urban foxes were a thing. In America that niche is filled by the raccoon. Here in Taiwan, the only largish wild animals to have colonized the cities are two species of heron, including one that is fully terrestrial and hunts earthworms.

Bruce Charlton said...

@IS - We live near to Jesmond Dene and the houses have long gardens - so there are places for the foxes to live. Further into the built up areas you mention, I suppose the foxes could only make hazardous expeditions across busy roads.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Everybody in the UK knows about urban foxes, in theory, since a BBC wildlife documentary on the subject in the 1970s (made, I think, in Bristol - where the BBC wildlife unit is located). It is only in recent years that I have seen the foxes, and got to know their cries - which I had assumed to be avian in origin (sometimes the sound is like a goose being strangled, or something), or maybe the local feral humans trying to spook people.

For example, a vixen and cubs used to play in next-doors garden each night - and I could shine a powerful torch to watch them - and see their glowing eyes. But the torch didn't scare them off; nor the scent of the two dogs the neighbours own.

I surprised one big dog fox in our garden at night - who just stood and stared at me with demonic glowing eyes from the torch. After a while he exited by scrambling over a wooden garden fence - which is nearly 6ft high; something I'm pretty sure a dog of that size could not achieve. It still seems incredible.

dearieme said...

Urban coyotes.

https://rightcoast.typepad.com/rightcoast/2020/01/chicago-coyote-urban-attacks-are-rare-but-frightening-the-new-york-times.html

Nova said...

We've foxes here in Canada, but for a truly eerie, even spine-chilling sonic performance, nothing surpasses the elusive Lynx: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/00000163-8da0-d630-a16f-bdaaa7030000

Michael D. said...

The common cat is bad enough for me, those bastards can produce more creepy noises than they're given credit. You can never get used to hearing a sound of crying babe in some dark corner while walking back from job at some ungodly hour.

Karl said...

@Wm: I wonder how raccoons might thrive if they were introduced to Britain. We have their pigeons and their sparrows and their rats. Something ought to be attempted by way of reciprocation.