What animal(s) am I hearing?

For the second year in a row, I have heard loud animal noises on several sequential nights in the late spring/early summer. Please help me identify the critters involved.

Vocalizations occur at night. First, there’s squealing that sounds like an animal in pain. This is loud enough to be heard a few houses away. Then there’s hoarse, heavy breathing. There’s slight rustling in the trees or underbrush. This may be repeated a couple of times in the night.

These noises take place in a hilly area in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. It’s a mix of houses on partially-wooded lots, cleared lots, and woods.

I have investigated several times, because I first thought that I was hearing a dog evicerate a little creature, like an opossum. However, I’ve never found any evidence of this in the morning, and the fact that it recurs suggest that it might be mating, territorial dispute, or predator-prey relations. Due to the pine needles, I can’t see tracks, and have never found scat.

In this area, I’ve seen various birds, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and deer. There are also some free-ranging dogs ad numerous cats (but I would recognize the sounds if a cat were involved). Other mammals are reported to live in the region, including various weasels, river otters, cougars, and the like.


Addendum: My partner thinks the second part sounds more like “snorfling” than panting; in order words, it might be eating something.

Do you have hedgehogs in the States? They can squeal quite loudly and make a ‘snorfling’ noise.

As to the squealing sound: I once heard just what you’re describing, I think. It was quite unnerving. Then I was once watching a nature show about foxes, and they showed a vixen yowling. That was it! God, that’s an unearthly sound. Maybe that’s your squealing noise.

Most likely, given your location, it’s Sasquatch.
I once heard a racoon fight. Very unpleasant-- sounded like human infants screaming. They hiss, too. Racoons, I mean.
Are you near any streams or anything? Another option in Oregon is nutria.

Not near streams–this is taking place about a mile uphill from the nearest open water. There are nutria there, but I’ve never seen them more than a few feet from the river.

I recently heard an animal that sounds similar on my property. We have quite a bit of wooded area surrounding a pond, and at about 9pm we heard a noise that sounded like a cat was dying. Loud, screeching screams.

Several people with me hypothesized that it was a fisher cat.

Coyotes also make a high-pitched sound which can make you think of an animal in pain.

Cougars scream like a woman.
I don’t think we have any wild swine in the Northwest, but I could be wrong…
Bears make a whoofing sound, but they may “snorfle” too. But I don’t think they scream.

I’m also thinking coyote - even though we are in an urbanized areas, at times in the night one can hear them running - making all kinds of outlandish noises.

Perhaps they are running deer?

Actually, I believe that women scream like cougars.