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Cunning fox grabs smartphone, sends text

A Norwegian teenager spots a fox and sets his iPhone down to attract it with a hunting app that makes rabbit noises. Guess what the tech-savvy animal does next?

Moral of the story: Foxes like iPhones too. Wikimedia Commons

The text message may be celebrating its 20th birthday today, but as far as we know, only one SMS has been sent by a fox in all those years. (And by fox, of course, we mean the mammal belonging to the Canidae family, not the mammal belonging to the hot-humans-with-phones family).

The text reads like so: "jlv l øi\a0ab 34348tu åaugjoi zølbmosdji jsøg ijio sjiw," which, as the multilingual among you may have already ascertained, is Norwegian fox speak.

Lars cell phone
Google Translate was absolutely no help with this. Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Norwegian publication VG Nett reports that the fox got ahold of the phone after 16-year-old Lars Andreas Bjercke noticed the animal in his Oslo yard. Curious to observe its behavior, he downloaded a hunting app designed to attract foxes by emitting dying-rabbit sounds.

He then put his iPhone on the ground and stood back to watch.

As you can see from the footage below shot by Bjercke's buddy, the fox approaches the device tentatively at first, but then apparently decides it likes the specs and hightails it with the phone in its mouth. Bjercke runs after the animal, but, being a fox, it outpaces him.

As VG Nett tells the story, Bjercke's partner in teenage antics then called Bjercke's cell phone hoping the ring would reveal its location. Surprisingly, the animal managed to answer the touch-screen phone, as Bjercke's pal got an earful of crackling sounds. None of those sounds included an explanation of the phone's whereabouts.

The day after the phone went missing, one of Bjercke's friends received the cryptic text message above and wrote to him on Facebook asking if he'd gotten his mobile phone back. No, he hasn't.

The Norwegian fox, of course, isn't the first animal to gain prominence for its tech aplomb. Who could forget the lizard who slayed the smartphone game Ant Crusher or the cats who shared their MoMa-worthy painting skills on an iPad?

(Via CNET Australia)