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VIDEO: Answering Ylvis's 'The Fox': What DOES a fox sound like? And which ones are in SoCal?

The latest music video from Norwegian musicians/talk show hosts Ylvis,
The latest music video from Norwegian musicians/talk show hosts Ylvis, "The Fox."
tvnorge (via YouTube)

The new song “The Fox” by Ylvis has quickly become a viral sensation, with almost 4 million views on YouTube so far. If you haven’t seen it yet, click above and watch it, immediately. I know, it’s the kind of thing that seems like it will be a disappointment, but it completely isn’t.

The song by the Norwegian musicians/talk show hosts examines the common ways we describe the sounds animals make, from meowing cats to mooing cows. However, they assert that no one really knows what sound foxes make, asking in the chorus, “What does the fox say?” They then descend into their imagined possible sounds for foxes which also happen to make pretty good club beats.

So, wait a second. What noise does a fox actually make?

Foxes make a wide variety of sounds, wildlife biologist Kevin Brennan tells KPCC. Brennan is with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Mostly high-pitched barking and yipping. They tend to sound more like puppies, as far as anything people would be familiar with," Brennan said. He noted that their bark is not like that of a dog or a coyote.

There are five types of foxes native to Southern California, Brennan said: the gray fox, the red fox, the island fox, the kit fox, and the San Joaquin kit fox. The most common is the gray fox, though appearances can be deceiving — they have some orange coloration on part of their fur, which can lead to people confusing them for red foxes, Brennan said.

There's also the European red fox, an invasive type of red fox that the state wildlife department treats like vermin due to their threat to the local ecosystem. Authorities are seeking to eradicate them, but it can be difficult for the average person to spot these foxes. They're generally only found at higher elevations, according to Brennan.

The gray fox is the most common type here in Southern California. It makes its home in forests and brushland — as well as the orchards of this area. They're all over Los Angeles County, Brennan said — at least in the areas that remain undeveloped.

The video below offers the sounds of the fox, described as a “bark,” a “scream,” a “howl” or a “cry” in different circumstances. It also offers another sound, “gekkering,” which foxes make in two somewhat different circumstances: when they play, and when they fight.

This story has been updated.