What does the fox say?' ask Ylvis
What does the fox say?' ask Ylvis

"Ducks say quack, and fish go blub and the seal goes ow wow ow ... what does the fox say?" is the question posed by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis dressed in animal suits in a music video that has become a worldwide viral sensation.

Gaining 141 million hits on YouTube, the track by Bard Ylvisaker, 31, and his brother Vegard, 34, this week climbed to no 6 in the US Billboard chart.

Released in early September, it quickly proved an internet sensation, reaching 1 million hits more quickly than even the smash hit Gangnam Style, by Korean pop star Sy, the biggest ever YouTube success, with 1.79 billion hits.

The duo, who host a late-night Norwegian TV show, have declared themselves astonished by the track's success, which they say was intended to parody the self-importance of glossy pop videos.

In the video, which is set at a party where the guests all wear animal costumes, and in a forest where an army of dancers in fox costumes perform a synchronised routine, was made when the brothers called in a favour from hit makers StarGate, who have made videos for singers including Rihanna.

"The idea was that we could go on air and say, 'Guys we had an opportunity of our life, making a film with these producers', but all we could come up with was this song about what sound the fox makes," Vegard told the Sunday Times.

"We were very surprised. The opposite was supposed to happen. We wanted to parody pop stars. You can see the humour comes from the clash between the pretentious and serious framework and the song's content."

The pair say they are keen to follow up on the success of the hit and recently met with US record executives, but for the time being they are enjoying the success it has brought. In the States they have appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and performed at festivals alongside stars like Katy Perry. They were even asked to fly out for a five-minute performance in New Zealand.

"It's embarrassing but every time we meet with somebody we get asked: 'What do you want to do next?' And we say we don't know," Vegard told Reuters. "But the meetings opened doors."