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Thanks to a couple of Norwegian musicians, a lot of people have become obsessed with one question: What does the fox say? It turns out that foxes "say" lots of different things depending on the situation, and if you think the song is weird, just wait 'til you hear the real thing.
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Thanks to a couple of Norwegian musicians, a lot of people over the last few months have been spending a lot of time obsessed with a single question: What does the fox say?

I know we're a little late to the party here, but it turns out that foxes say lots of different things, depending on the situation, and if you think that the song is weird, just wait until you hear the real thing. 

(Introduction music)

Foxes make a variety of sounds, and almost all of them would freak you out in a hurry if you heard them in the woods at night. First of all, we gotta to say that there are many species of fox, but Ylvis was almost certainly was talking about the red fox, because it is by far the most common fox in Norway, and in the rest of the word. So it's what I'm gonna be what I'm talking about when I say fox. 

All foxes are canids, members of the same taxonomic family that includes dogs, wolves, jackals, and coyotes. So you would probably expect them to bark, kinda like dogs, and they do. Foxes live in families, usually a breeding pair and their offspring. And this sound (sound plays) is basically used to keep in touch with members of the family, but there are also lots of other calls for use in various situations. For example, when two foxes are approaching each other from a distance they call back and forth to each other with a distinctive sound to identify and locate each other. Once they meet they greet each other which a series of little purring or clucking sounds. And if they get super excited about something they can make a really terrible noise (high pitched noise plays). And then when the fox is looking for some sexy time, it summons its mate with a long, high-pitched howl (sound plays). When this particular sound is heard in the forest, everybody knows what's up. Interestingly, the sound is often called the 'vixen's scream', because it was thought for many years that it was only used as a mating call by female foxes, or 'vixens'. Turns out that males sometimes use it as well, but it is most commonly used by females, an unusual example in the animal kingdom of the female being the sexual aggressor.

Not all fun and games in the life of a fox though: if a fox senses a threat, it can warn others nearby with a sort of wheezy barking sound (this is clearly a step up from the regular bark but not quite into a full-scale alert). We get closer to that when the fox's territory is invaded, usually by another fox family. That triggers a longer, louder bark like this (sound plays). If the territorial warning doesn't work, and the two foxes end up fighting, or even when there's a fight within a family, they make a sound known as 'gekkering' (sound plays). Juvenile foxes, known as kits, make this sound when they play-fight as well, just part of learning how to do battle as a fox. And I'm sure you can imagine fights often end up with one or more injured foxes; the sound that they make is a pitiful wail (sound plays), one of the sounds that many animals make when they're in pain or extreme danger. 

Foxes actually make more sounds than I can cover in just a few minutes, but these are the most commonly heard ones. All that remains is weird, random little noises like this one (sound plays), that sounds almost like quacking. Obviously foxes don't technically quack, but I'm not sure that I could tell the difference if I heard that sound in the woods.. Weird.

So now you know the answer to the question that the world continues to ponder: [singing] what does the fox say?

So the next time somebody asks you 'what does the fox say?', you can just look them straight into the eye and say (shrill bark sound plays). I guarantee they won't ask you again.

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(SciShow end screen plays.)