Distressing, unnerving and strange sounds have roused Pleasanton resident Keli Martinez in the middle of the night for several years, but she said she and her family finally solved the mystery while walking the dog earlier this month.
It all started about three years ago, after the first week of the family moving into a townhouse off Vineyard Avenue on Vine Street, she said.
Martinez said she and her husband have been awakened most nights by what she described as loud, blood-curdling shrieks that sounded seemingly painful and similar to a small child wailing.
"My husband and I were so unnerved and worried, we debated calling the police," Martinez said. "We walked onto our balcony and listened to the sound for another few minutes and determined that the sound was coming from the wooded area along the Arroyo del Valle creek."
According to Martinez, the family turned to neighbors for possible explanations. She said that neighbors could not identify the sound either and suggested it was an animal such as a turkey, bird or bobcat.
"This horrible sound has woken us up a few nights a month for the past three years," Martinez said. "It comes and goes, some weeks it's nightly and then it will simply stop."
Then, on July 4, Martinez's husband Brian went to walk the dog in the morning and heard a rustle in the shrubbery behind the townhouse complex, Martinez said. When he looked, he saw a family of foxes, and one made the shrieking sound at him.
Martinez said she thinks that the foxes are dispersed throughout the area and use the sound as a tool for communication, such as a mating or warning call.
The Martinezes said they are relieved to be able to put a face to the sound and think they may be able to get sleep knowing the source of the shriek.