The common red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is an uncommonly beautiful animal, sleek of form and pleasant of hue. We have them in my neck of the woods, but it is a rare occasion, usually around dawn, when I see one. Hearing them, though, is another story entirely... it's enough to raise one's hackles.
Right around four-thirty this morning, I heard that screa suh m and rushed out to the field with a high-powered flashlight to get a glimpse. While I could see the sleek profile of the wee beastie, the most prominent visible features were the twin glows of the animal's tapeta lucida reflecting back at me. Needless to say, the cat wasn't too happy knowing that there was another predator in the vicinity. She eagerly jumped onto my shoulder, even though the fox kept a distance of about fifty meters, and was glad when we eventually went back inside.
I'm not the sort of person who scares easily, I couldn't function in my job if I were, but there's something unheimlich about such a sound, even coming from a small, pretty animal. Of course, my natural inclination is to investigate the sources... contrary to John Bellairs' advice: "Unexplained noises are best left unexplained."
I love my job, I find it a continuous source of beauty and wonder, but it's not for everyone. To my knowledge, two new hires didn't even last a shift. I like to think that it's my investigative bent which keeps me here... well, that and a certain level-headedness. I know I'm the most dangerous animal onsite.