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Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:20 pm Unread post
Hi all,
Over the last few months an animal with a piercing call has made its presence known! We live on a small holding near a nature reserve and bordering a lodge, there are hares and small game there. The animal arrives at night and is only ever heard at night so can only be nocturnal. It sounds like an animal in distress, yelping in a very high pitched manner and quite frantically. Initially we thought it was a small dog possilby caught in a trap. After an extensive search which revealed nothing the same noise was heard in a different area of the bush. We have been out several times and it has managed to get past us in the bush without us realising it and what was calling from in front of you is all of a sudden behind you. We have not seen it, but it appears to make the same route around if we follow the sound it makes. It appears to be carnivorous, we have found remains of guinnea fowl. While it is great to have a wild life experience at home when we can't be at the Kruger :cry: (we have a young child of 2 and worry about malaria) we would love to be able to identify it. Is there someone in the Johannesburg area that could come out and help us with a "stake out" to identify the animal and maybe even get to see it! Alternatively we have a sound clip (it isn't very loud as the animal is about 200m from the recorder) which we could email to someone to try help us identify the sound.
Any help would be appreciated! contact 083 299 4475
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Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:30 pm Unread post
A tree dassie or hyrax makes a very unusual call. It is rather disturbing.
We have them in the Natal Midalnds , I am not sure if they are in Gauteng. They like forrests. They call to each other with a screech that starts of flike a craok of a frog and ends in a schreek. Rather creepy!!!


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:31 pm Unread post
I think your best cal would be to upload the audio file to something like you tube so the folks here could have a listen to it. Here is a tut on how to do it or otherwise you could draw the attention of Duco, he would probably have a better way of uploading.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21qW_4cpAcY

I am sure you will have the answer in two ticks if the clip is available, there are some knowledgeable folks on this forum and who knows this could be the start of a very educational thread


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:54 am Unread post
Littlejohn, I live in the Lanseria/Cradle area and we have a rather large Jackal population. Your description sounds like a Jackal call. The first time my neighbout heard it, he thought that a child was being attacked. I hear them often, particularly in winter. They also seem to keep the local bush chicken population stable.


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:43 am Unread post
Perhaps a Spotted Dikkop (Thick knee)


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:08 pm Unread post
It is difficult to say what the animal is, but there are a couple of nocturnal creatures around which could fit the bill.

Adding to the Spotted Thick-knee mentioned by Rooies...

You say that you thought at one stage that it was a small dog that was trapped.

1. The call of a Freckled Nightjar sounds like a little dog barking, but it won't fit the high pitch tone.
2. Then you have Thick-tailed Bushbaby which sounds exactly just like a little human baby crying. Although your residence doesn't fall within its distribution. Lesser Bushbabies are not as noisy, but they too can utter quite a strange cry.
3. African Grey Hornbill (although not nocturnal) is another bird that sounds just like a yelping puppy after someone stepped on its tail! As mentioned, it is not a nocturnal bird, but lately I have heard Cape Robin-Chats and Karoo Thrushes going off at all times of the night. So who knows.
4. Another good candidate is the Barn Owl. It makes the most spine-chilling call.

The fact that this creature seems to change location without you noticing it is a good indication that it is either flying or able to leap long distances of which all 4 the animals above are quite capable of doing.

But please mail me your sound recording and let's see what it is. I think the remains of the guineafowl could just be purely coincidental.


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:38 pm Unread post
Sparks wrote
Here is a tut on how to do it or otherwise you could draw the attention of Duco, he would probably have a better way of uploading.

That depends very much on the recording medium, and even the operating system of it. ;)


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:52 pm Unread post
The Barn Owl sounds like the answer but the clip would give us the correct answer. At this stage it is all speculations. :D


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:51 pm Unread post
The mystery deepens. :( I have sent audio out to many different people and nobody seems to be able to identify what animal is making this noise. Any mammal experts out there who coild help. I am beginning to wonder if it isnt perhaps an escaped exotic of some sorts????


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:17 am Unread post
It is indeed a strange sound, John! I cannot recall ever hearing it before. The closest i can get is jackal, but i am pretty sure that it is not a jackal. Do you hear it every night?


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:16 am Unread post
We hear it just about every night, usually between 7 and 10. Occasionally, we hear it in the morning when we get up around 04h30. This morning, it was very close to the house, ie the noise was quite loud.


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:00 am Unread post
Jackal also spring to mind Wildtuinman. I have converted the file to mp3 for littlejohn.

Maybe it is some kind of frog and that is why we don't regonize the sound. :D


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:11 am Unread post
Thanks LaeveldLeeu.

I am fairly comfortable with my knowledge on frog calls and I must say that I have never heard any frog call of that nature.

This is a very strange sound.

Littlejohn, try to get hold of someone at Freeme and send them the clip. Perhaps they can be of assistance.


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:22 pm Unread post
Is it not perhaps a Bushbaby?


Re: Help needed to identify a nocturnal animal from its call

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Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:08 am Unread post
Rose, it sounds too dog like, I think, to be a bushbaby. It also stays on the ground it seems. I listened to the sound of a side striped jackal and its the closest I can get.
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