When Ylvis asks what the fox says, the answers they guess aren’t actually that far off.
The two brothers from Norway known as Ylvis scored a viral hit in their song “The Fox,” one that points out the fact that no one really knows what a fox sounds like. In the video, people dressed up in wild animal costumes dance around in some kind of forest nightclub while the brothers sing about the animals with trademark sounds — “dog goes woof/ cat goes meow/ bird goes tweet/ mouse goes squeak.”
But then Ylvis gets to the fox, and the song takes a turn. The brothers make their best guesses as to what a fox sounds like, including:
The sounds are ridiculous and look even sillier when a grandfatherly man who looks like Santa Claus exaggerates the noises as he reads a book to a young boy.
But did Ylvis actually nail the noise the fox makes? Some wildlife expert say yes.
Wired writers dug around at the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has an archive with vocalizations of more than 9,000 different species. They found that several fox species, including the red fox, arctic fox, and common grey fox, actually sound the way Ylvis guessed.
Dan Nosowitz of Popular Science shed more light on Ylvis and their quest to find out what the fox sounds like.
“The most commonly heard red fox vocalizations are a quick series of barks, and a scream-y variation on a howl,” he writes. “All fox vocalizations are higher-pitched than dog vocalizations, partly because foxes are much smaller. The barks are a sort of ow-wow-wow-wow, but very high-pitched, almost yippy. It’s commonly mistaken for an owl hooting,”
It turns out Ylvis was right about the fox, but either way they have a hit song on their hands. In less than a week online, “The Fox” already has close to 15 million views on YouTube.