It sounds like a modern fable — perhaps some sort of story to warn us about being too clever with our texting. In reality it is actually the very real story of a fox that stole a tempting mobile phone and then proceeded to use it.
You have questions. Who wouldn't?
First, how did the fox get the phone? Lars Andreas Bjercke, a 16-year-old from Norway noticed a fox hanging around his yard and yielding to the curiosity and sometimes unexplainable behavior that plagues teenagers, he decided to install an app on his phone that mimics the sound of rabbits to see what happened next.
It's not a complicated reach to get to the fact the fox was pretty interested in the sound of the "rabbits," never mind the fact the noise was coming from something that looked nothing like a rabbit. After some careful probing the fox picked up the phone and ran off with his prize. So it didn't taste like a rabbit; perhaps there is a black market on electronics lost in the woods. We won't question the fox's motives.
As these things often are, it was all captured on video for us to see. So not only do we get to see the odd experiment take place with one adorable and fearless fox, we get to see Bjercke chase after the fox as if he was actually surprised by the fact the fox went for it.
The story continues after the video ends however. Bjercke called his phone to try and locate it and was surprised as the fox answered the phone. He didn't speak, but Bjercke got an earful of crackling woodland sounds.
More mayhem ensues in this tale as a friend of Bjercke then got a strange text: "Jlv In ø \ a0ab 34348tu äaugjoi zølbmosdji jsøg ijio sjiw." Yep, the fox was working on its nascent texting skills — and though no one has cracked the code for what he was saying, it seems as coherent as any butt dial we've seen.
The moral to the story is the phrase "sly as a fox" didn't arise out of thin air apparently. Be warned that if you put an app on your phone that might interest a fox, the fox will indeed come check it out.
And, far from being afraid of technology it seems at least one Norwegian fox is looking to master it. Who knows? This could be the first steps towards an experiment in inter-species communication and a start towards an Ig Noble Award.