Hidden Content
Itís late at night as you crawl into your comfy bed and pull the blanket up to your ears. But just as youíre about to fall asleep, it begins.From somewhere, you canít quite tell where, emanates a repeating, bassy thumping. It resonates in your walls, filling your bedroom until falling asleep becomes just a pipe dream.

This is the problem plaguing Tampa, Florida. For at least two years, the bizarre noise has bothered locals, particularly on winter nights.

The biggest mystery is the soundís origin. If you heard it, you might think itís your neighbor listening to loud music, yet thatís not the case.

Now, however, Tampa residents have hired a scientist to investigate the noise. The researcher has an idea of where the thumping might originate.

He believes itís the sound of local fish having sex.

Whereís It Coming From?
Tampaís strange phenomenon first began bothering locals in 2021, but it has likely been going on for much longer. You could describe the sound as a bass drum or bad beatboxing, except itísÖ Not.

The noise most often happens at night. Itís a repeating, low thump or thrum that can get so loud it begins to shake walls and windows of peoplesí houses.

That is irritating enough on its own. But Tampa residents say the worst part is that they have no idea where the sound is coming from.

Locals have taken to their cars at night to drive around their neighborhoods, trying to locate the source of the mysterious noise. The only thing people are fairly certain of is that the sound emanates from the direction of Tampa Bay.

Unsurprisingly, many theories circulate about what the noise could be. Some have posited it comes from the MacDill Air Force Base, while others have suggested everything from construction work to a party boat blasting bass-heave music.

Yet, no oneís ever found anything solid. And thatís what got South Tampa resident Sara Healy to take action.

Earlier this year, Healy launched a GoFundMe campaign to hire Dr. James Locascio, the program manager for fisheries habitat ecology and acoustics at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, to investigate the noise. Locascio has a theory of what the soundís origin could be.

And his theory is a wild one.

The Punta Gorda Growl
Locascio believes the thumping noise haunting Tampa residents is the sound of fish having sex. More precisely, he thinks it originates from the mating calls of a fish known as the black drum.

The black drum, also called black drummer, is a sizable marine fish thatís popular among fishermen. It can weigh more than 30 pounds, reach lengths of five feet, and prefers brackish coastal waters like those of Tampa Bay.

During mating season, the black drum lives up to its name. It emits low-frequency, thumping noises ó much like those Tampa residents have heard.

Locascio is very familiar with the noise. After all, he wrote his dissertation on it.

ďThey used to call it the Punta Gorda growl in the 1970s. So, down there, itís been going on or known about for a long time,Ē Locascio says.

Just listen to it. Itís exactly like bad beatboxing.

Additionally, black drums tend to get their freak on in the dead of night during the winter. Coincidentally, thatís also when Tampa residents say the noise is at its worst.

ĎNothing to Be Doneí
When Locascio played the black drumís mating sound to Healey, she immediately recognized it as the noise that has haunted her all these years. Now, having raised $2,500 through GoFundMe, she has commissioned Locascio to find solid proof that the fish are behind the sound.

To do so, Locascio plans to install marine microphones in Tampa Bay. Heíll then be able to compare the recorded sound to those that locals report to figure out if theyíre the one and the same.

It would be strange for underwater sounds to cause the kind of on-land noise that Tampa residents hear. Yet, itís not impossible.

ďItís a low frequency sound, and so they travel much better and go further distances, and they go through dissimilar media more efficiently,Ē Locascio explained to Fox 13.

The fishís amorous noises could travel up sewers and drainpipes, eventually climbing to peopleís homes through the foundation. That would explain why so many locals say the sound resonates through their homes, shaking the walls.

But what if Locascio is right and Tampaís plight is caused by loud fish sex? Well, thereís not much anyone can do, really.

ďItís nature, thereís nothing to be done,Ē Healey said.

Tampa residentsí only option is to hope the fish satisfy their urges early in the year so they can finally get some sleep.

Suppose it still beats hearing a creaking bed upstairs every night.