What animal is making these horrific screams?

I live in a mostly wooded area on the east coast of the United States. There is an animal in my neighborhood that has been making horrible, disturbing screaming noises at night for many months. The first time I heard it through a closed window I thought someone was being murdered, but when I got quiet and heard it better I could hear it was an animal of some sort. For a while I thought it was an animal being killed, but then I kept hearing it on subsequent nights.

Here are links to download two recordings of it. (I don’t have a website where I can post them directly, this is the only way I can think of to post an audio file.) I made these with the built-in microphone on my computer, so you will have to turn it up to a point where the background noise and my mouse clicks are fairly loud in order to hear the animal.


While I was listening to my recordings, it got closer, right in my yard. It sounded vaguely canine and it sounded like it was chasing or attacking something, or preparing to. Unfortunately I didn’t capture that part.

Does anyone know what animal it is? Coyote, fox, mountain lion, hell-hound, killer shrew?

** warning, do not go to the sites linked, infected with spoof virus checkers**

I’m not going to open the links (Thanks, casdave!) but I’ve heard firsthand from two individuals that the sound of a mountain lion roar can sound remarkably like a woman in distress screaming.


Without hearing the links, my first thoughts: raccoon, fox, or maybe a peacock.

Not going to click the link - anything like this peacock on youtube (not my vid)

This is the one I hear more frequently when I’m around them - caption says “mad” but I figured it was a mating call:

East Coast of US probably means no mountain lions, although it is possible. If you are in the northeast my first thought would be Fisher Cats, but I’m not clicking the links either. Can you let us know where you live in more detail?

Without hearing the link, sometimes cats in heat can make a shocking noise. The boyfriend once woke me up in a panic thinking somebody was getting murdered.

When I was younger, my brother and I once grabbed baseball bats and flashlights and went out into the darkness of our village to rescue the child we could hear being tortured, before coming face to face with an angry escaped peacock.

Cripes, it’s just megaupload. If that kills your computer, get off IE6.

Of everything so far, I think fisher cat is probably right.

We have fishers that live in the woods behind our house. Ungodly screaming sounds through the night that makes you want to call the police to help that poor woman. I’ve found recordings of fishers on Youtube, but I don’t have the time to search for them now. I cannot begin to desrcibe how terrible their call is - really. Bad beyond words.

We also have a peacock farmer about 3/4 miles away, not a pleasant sound, but nowhere near as gut wrenching as a fisher.

My money’s on the fisher.

Foxes are notorious for making loud, distressing screams at night and causing people to come out with flashlights. I’ve heard and seen them many times in the Eastern US.

Yeesh, that’s an annoying upload/download site. Ever heard of sendspace?

But I laugh at your “spoof virus checkers” and download it anyhow…

…no I don’t… Every version of download button or download link just seems to open a new screen with a new capcha.

Sorry, no fear of malware here but my time is too important to mess with this stupid download site.


Is rapidshare acceptable? I use a Mac, so viruses aren’t an issue for me.


There are some Youtube clips of red foxes that sound like what I’ve been hearing.

My guess is a female fox beckoning (or welcoming) gentleman callers. Sounds like a woman screaming, but not quite. Or like an animal being tortured, but not quite.

I am on IE8, and when shit tries to mess with my broswer I don’t give it a chance, and I would think you might appreciate the warning.

Anyone who tries to use such sites and draw others to them is being extremely inconsiderate, and that is my best interpretation.

I am totally unaware of these problems because it’s not something that is an issue on a Mac. Megaupload has annoying captchas and ads, but other sites tend to have strong limits on how much you can download for free. Rapidshare won’t let me download 2 files in a row without waiting many minutes.

The mods can feel free to edit my OP and put in the Rapidshare links, if those are more acceptable.

I had a similar response to a racoon mating call once. Or at least that’s what my neighbor says it was. :dubious:

I don’t have any ideas what could be making that noise, but I want to suggest DivShare for uploading files like these.

Note: I haven’t used it on anything other than a Mac in over a year, but even before then, I have never seen anything annoying.