What’s an animal that lives in Illinois that screams that’s not a peacock?

Monday night, around 2 am, I woke up to a horrible screeching sound and my first thought was, of course, “BANSHEE!” It went on for maybe 30 seconds and then stopped. Once I’d woken up sufficiently to reassure myself it wasn’t actually a banshee, I figured I’d just heard some animal being eaten by another animal – unfortunate, but, you know, the circle of life and all that, I guess.

Then last night, again around 2 am, I was jolted awake by the same noise. This time it went on for maybe a minute. When it was over and I’d once again convinced myself that it probably wasn’t a banshee, I decided to figure out what was making such a horrible noise. When I’d told Liz about it on Tuesday, she’d suggested that maybe it had been an owl, so I started my google search there. Turns out eastern screech owls live in Illinois! But, after listening to a couple of websites that had audio clips of their calls, I learned that, contrary to their name, screech owls? Don’t screech.

So I started searching for pretty much the title of this post and up popped a similar question from someone in Ohio – they were guessing it was either an owl or a fox. One of the people who answered the question linked to a video of foxes making various sounds and, lo and behold, that was what I’d been hearing! But you have to close your eyes and pretend that it’s just woken you up in the middle of the night (it’s not that scary when you see the little fox actually making the noise).

Isn’t that horrifying?! I agree with one of the commenters who says “We seriously thought we had a velociraptor living in the pond area behind our apartment. The sounds at the beginning of this are identical to what we heard. Who would ever guess a fox makes this noise? It was utterly bone-chilling when we heard it.”

Apparently more and more foxes are moving into urban areas – it keeps them safe from coyotes and there are plenty of rabbits and squirrels to snack on (and probably garbage cans to root through). Everything I read said that foxes are hardly ever a threat to dogs and cats which is a relief because there are at least two neighborhood cats around here that go outside. But there are also chickens somewhere (I know because I often hear the rooster in the morning) and it sounds like foxes are good at burrowing into coops, so I hope their owner has taken necessary precautions!

I’m happy to have more wildlife around here, but…they need to not make that noise anymore.


10 thoughts on “What’s an animal that lives in Illinois that screams that’s not a peacock?

  1. This is my response to your video. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And yes, foxes are creepy (and really annoying). I don’t know why I always think they should be bigger than they are. I blame it all on Disney’s Robin Hood.

    • Oh, I just watched the Circle of Life video (the real one) and it totally got me! Man, I cry at everything lately…

      Haha, I was thinking the same exact thing re: Robin Hood this afternoon – I always picture foxes as being human sized if they stood up on their hind legs!

      • Don’t worry, Circle of Life moves me, too! Even if the song just pops up on my ipod. I get really into it. It’s a weird mixture of nostalgia and…I don’t know what else. Probably just the fact that it is a really good song. The end.

        • Yeah, I definitely agree about the nostalgia of it – I can still remember seeing the trailer for the first time in the theater and being like “When is this movie coming out?!” and I listened to the soundtrack over and over and over again!

  2. Welcome to life with Vulpes vulpes! I imagine you’re just in it’s native range in North America, but they’re adaptive and smart little critters – you can trust me on that one! – so it doesn’t surprise me at all that their range is increasing – they are one of the world’s worst (ie most successful) invasive species, having colonised Australia in barely no time at all after some idiot Englishman decided he wanted to go fox hunting. With my research in Sydney I had them eating everything from Kangaroo to cat food… so I’m sure there’s plenty of yummy things to eat in your area that would take their fancy… like that baby squirrel you found a while back ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And it’s probably just the end of the mating season (normally Spring), so it was probably some foxes catching the tail end of their “busy” season! haha.

    • I’d never heard them before – I certainly would have remembered if I had! I know they have them in London – there was one living in Pax’s back garden – so it really shouldn’t surprise me that we have them here. I’m just not sure where their den would be – seems like it would be pretty conspicuous…

    • Ha! Yeah–those foxes probably were pretty busy.

      Fox hunting. Of course. Because if I were to travel to Australia, that’s the first thing I would have thought of doing.

      • They’re probably very much like the geese over at your place! Yours are louder and probably more persistent (and definitely braver) than the foxes, but the foxes have a definite creepy edge to them… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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