Did you Hear that? Foxes and Coyotes Everywhere – That’s Amore

January 27, 2023

Just in time for Valentine’s Day

If you check Facebook this time of year, you’re bound to come across a local post about coyotes or foxes in neighborhoods and warnings to keep a close eye on your pets. Also at night, especially, they are making a lot of noise.    

Why are we seeing and hearing so many coyotes or foxes now? It actually happens every year about this time. Mid-January to mid-March is mating season for both species and they are looking for partners.

This time of year, they are also much more vocal. Foxes make what is called, for good reason, a scream!   


Fox Calls (youtube link)

In Massachusetts, we actually have two different fox species. The gray fox and red fox are two distinct species, both are common and abundant in Massachusetts. Foxes belong to the dog family Canidae, and their appearance is similar to that of domestic dogs and coyotes.

​​From Massachusetts Department of Wildlife:

Red Fox. Photo Credit: Robert Dorer

Fox Description

The red fox is the most widespread carnivore species in the world, ranging across the entire Northern Hemisphere. They measure about 35–40 inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Adults typically weigh 7–15 pounds, but may appear heavier. They are recognized by their reddish coat and black “leg-stockings.” Red is the most common coat color, but individuals

Red Fox. Photo Credit: Robert Dorer

may vary from light yellow to a deep auburn red to a frosted black. The white tip on the tail distinguishes this fox from other species at any age.

Similar to cats, red foxes have vertical pupils which help to enhance night vision for hunting. The gray fox is often confused with the red fox because of the rusty-red fur on its ears, ruff, and neck. The overall coloration is gray with the darkest color extending in a stripe along the top of the back down to the end of the tail. The belly, throat, and chest are whitish.

Gray Fox. Photo Credit: Robert Dorer

The gray fox appears smaller than the red fox, but the shorter legs and stockier body are deceptive. Compared to the red fox, the gray fox has a shorter muzzle and shorter ears, as well as oval pupils. They measure about 31–44 inches in total length and weigh 7–13 pounds. Gray foxes are one of only two canid species in the world that can climb trees thanks to their hook-shaped claws. They will climb trees to escape predators and to access arboreal food sources.

Red Fox cutting through a yard on Page Rd. Photo Credit: Angelo Colao

Tip sheet from Massachusetts Department of Wildlife:



Coyote can be found across all terrains Massachusetts (including urban) and throughout Bedford. Check out MassWildlife for more information about the animal. Photo Credit Mass.gov

You can hear them at any time of year, but this time of year they turn the volume up. The howling particularly resonates on a cold winter’s night. Like foxes,  it’s breeding season. Coyote breeding season generally occurs between late January and March. Coyotes are generally monogamous, forming strong pair bonds for several years. Some researchers state that the coyotes will remain together.

Coyote Vocalizations (youtube link)

Coyotes are also much louder this time of year, pretty much for the same reason as the foxes. You will often hear yipping and howling. Coyotes’ howling is often triggered by loud noises. Those who live within earshot of Hanscom will often hear them as Taps is being played at 9 p.m. each evening.

Coyotes are one of the most vocal mammals. I know we have several here in Bedford.

Coyotes are also territorial. The pair howls and yips to let other coyotes know that they have an established territory and not to intrude.

During coyote mating season, since they are out searching for mates, it is more likely you may encounter them, especially while walking your dog. Here is a good resource if you do encounter a coyote. 


Tip sheet from Massachusetts Department of Wildlife:


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