A Malaysian says he found monkey selfies and videos on his missing phone one day after taking it into the jungle behind his house.
The content – including footage of a monkey trying to eat the phone – has been widely circulated on social media since Zackrydz Rodzi posted it on Twitter.
The student said he thought his phone was stolen while he slept.
But it remained unclear exactly how the cell phone disappeared.
It was also not possible to verify the circumstances under which the photos and videos fell on his phone.
Mr Zackrydz, 20, told the BBC he realized his smartphone had disappeared when he woke up at around 11am on Saturday.
“There was no sign of a robbery. The only thing that came to mind was some kind of sorcery,” said Batu Pahat, a last-year computer science student in southern Johor.
A few hours later, in a video shared with the BBC, which was encoded at 2:01 p.m., the same day, the monkey appeared to be trying to eat the phone. The primate can be seen staring down into the chamber against the backdrop of bright green leaves and crowing birds.
There was also a series of pictures of monkeys, trees and other greenery on the phone.
Mr Zackrydz said he had not been able to find traces of his phone until Sunday afternoon when his father spotted the monkey in front of their house. When he called his phone again, he heard a ring from the jungle a few steps beyond the back garden, he said, then found the dirty phone on some leaves under a palm tree.
His uncle joked that there might be a picture on the thief’s phone, he said, so after cleaning it, he opened the picture gallery “and boom, it’s full of monkey pictures.”
Unlike some parts of the world where monkeys live in or near urban areas, there is no history of monkeys stealing things from homes in the local neighborhood, the student said. He suspects that the monkey may have entered the house through the open window of his brother’s bedroom.
“Something you can see once a century,” he tweeted Sunday in a post that was shared and liked several thousand times and picked up by local media.
This is not the first time monkey selfies have made headlines. In 2017, a British photographer arranged a two-year legal battle against an animal rights group over an image made by a macaque.
In 2011, Naruto, a macaque monkey in the Indonesian jungle, took a camera owned by David Slater of Monmouthshire and snapped a series of selfies.
Mr Slater claimed to own the copyright on the widely shared image, but animal rights charity Peta said the animal should be taken advantage of because it clicked on the prison.
A U.S. court ruled that copyright protection could not be applied to the monkey and dismissed Peta’s case, but Mr Slater agreed to donate 25% of all future proceeds from the image to charities defending Naruto and other macaque combs in Indonesia.