Red Foxes (Vulpes Vulpes) are a member of the Dog family, but have many similarities to cats, being mainly solitary and using a pouncing method of hunting.
As well as communicating using body language and facial expressions, foxes communicate using around 28 different calls which included screaming and barking. Eight calls are only used by cubs which begins with a whelping noise. As they grow older this becomes a yelping and a warbling to get attention from their mother.
An adult fox’s call varies from a rhythmic bark to mark territory, to a yapping long distance contact call, to a high pitch chattering known as gekkering used for communicating close up, as well as the well known scream of the mating call, which both male and female foxes make, plus various yelps, howls, yips and whines.
The vixen uses different calls to her cubs including rumbles, coughs, barks, low growls, mews, churrs and purrs. It has been recorded that a mother uses different calls for each of her cubs suggesting that each cub has its own name.
A foxes hearing is incredible, they can hear a mouse squeak from 100 meters away, but they also use the earth’s magnetic field to hunt. Studies have shown they are more successful if they pounce on a north-easterly line. It is thought that they use the magnetic field to judge distance, matching up sound and the magnetic field to locate prey.
On my local patch I think I have a least two foxes that often come right up to our garden. They spend mornings and evenings hunting and I often find them after school lying in the sunshine napping.