Warning Issued on Foxes

Gregory Vellner

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The late-night still unexpectedly became unnerving.

And in this normally quiet Bucks County neighborhood one night – long after the kids were in bed and preparations readied for tomorrow – it recently occurred: the warm air without a clue played host to a random display of creepy, frightening cries and howls like an “eerie type call reminiscent to a scream,” said an observer.

The culprit? Though it may have sounded like a person or animal injured or in distress, the haunting shrieks belonged to a fox, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

“We have two foxes in Pennsylvania – red and gray foxes,” said Thomas Keller, furbearer biologist, state Game Commission. “The red is the most common relating to more agricultural areas, and the gray to more forest or brushy habitats.”

They’ve one thing in common.

“Both have a very eerie type call that can be reminiscent to a scream,” he said.
And those shadowy cries recently were center stage in places like Newtown Township, where some posted their experience on Facebook.

Wrote one resident: “I once called the police because it sounded like someone was being murdered.”

Posted another: “They sound like women screaming.”

And another: “Freaky sounding for sure.”

The fox hunting and trapping seasons begins Oct. 21 and run through mid-

February, Keller noted, and the public now may hear or see the animal close to home. But don’t befriend it, he said.

“When foxes feel threatened, they may react in a negative fashion, so humans should always give foxes and all wildlife plenty of space” he said. “Humans should never intentionally feed wildlife, or unintentionally through feeding pets outside or leaving scraps of trash available.”

A fox is not threatening in the wild – “but there are several things that can cause a fox to become a threat to humans,” said Keller. “Primarily, disease is the reason foxes become threatening, especially diseases like rabies or distemper.”

The best advice for humans?

“If the public would see a fox or any wild animal that seems to be acting out of the ordinary, such as approaching them, stumbling, bumping into things or have discharge from the mouth or nose, stay away. The second reason a fox can be threatening is when humans feed them or corner them.”

“Just stay clear away.”

(Ever see or hear a fox? Share this story with others, then send your story in a comment here.)

Ever hear or see a fox like this?Photo bySunguk KimonUnsplash

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA

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