Foxy Females

Every morning for the past week screams have pierced the pre-dawn hours in our quiet neighborhood.  We don’t have much crime here, so I immediately dismissed the thought that a woman nearby was being murdered, even though the screams were very female-like.  The first morning I heard the screams at 4 a.m., I jumped out of bed thinking some kind of animal fight was occurring in our front yard.  I put on the porch light and there under the big pine tree stood a fox screaming her little heart out.  After some research, I realized that it was a female seeking a mate.  This is apparently what the female fox does—she screams until a male fox hears her and comes running.

I wonder how unlike human nature this really is.  Maybe we females don’t actually scream (although for some of us, it’s a way to let out all our frustrations), but we do go to great lengths at times to attract the opposite sex.  The first morning the screams lasted about twenty minutes before the fox moved down the street.  The following mornings the screams shortened in duration.  This morning I did not hear her.  So now I’m wondering if she actually found a mate.  Maybe she just went elsewhere to look or maybe she just gave up.

Our street is located off another road called Foxwander.  At some point in the past, someone probably noticed screaming foxes and decided to name a street after them. When we first moved here, it was only a fleeting thought on my part that we might actually encounter a fox in our back yard while sitting on the deck or working in the garden.  At that time, we even had a cat that liked to roam at night.  We were taking a chance allowing her to be out there with the foxes.  Still she apparently never encountered one.

A few of my neighbors have mentioned fox sightings, a fox just strolling down the middle of the road.  But the screams were new to me.  Once I knew what they meant, they were not quite so frightening. She was just doing what females do–trying to get the attention of a male.  I hope she had some success.  I still wake up around 4 a.m. every morning now and listen for her.  It’s peaceful then, just before the birds start their morning songs.  I guess they too could be singing for a mate.  I’d rather think they were just happy, whether they had a mate or not.

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