01/17/2014 04:21 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

The Capitol Hill Fox May Be The Only Good Thing About Congress These Days (UPDATED)

Architect of the Capitol

Now there's a fox in Washington that everyone can love. Except squirrels. And possibly some members of Congress.

Until recently, the Capitol Hill fox -- a russet-haired interloper who's been spotted on the grounds around the U.S. Capitol in recent weeks -- was delighting humans, while striking fear into the hearts of all squirrels. And for good reason. DCist has a kill shot you might want to check out; here's a Twitter bite-by-bite of one observed incident:

Roll Call's Heard on the Hill, which has been especially deft at covering the fox's goings-on, spoke with a former House staffer now enjoying life in Colorado about how get this animal to come closer. Among the tips: put out uncooked eggs.

But not everyone is laying out the welcome eggs. It really would be too much to ask for omni-partisan support of this one wild creature, right?

The Washington Post spoke with a member of Congress who's sounding (jokingly, we think) alarmist about D.C.'s favorite canid.

“I’d advise my colleagues and visitors to the Capitol grounds to avoid going near or touching the fox if they spot it, as it could have rabies,” Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), a veterinarian, told the paper. “On second thought, it’s possible that it may have bitten some of my colleagues. That explains a lot.”

With the headline "Capitol Hill fox could be dangerous," and an article about looking out for the signs of rabies -- paradoxically, they include animals being unusually friendly, unusually calm or unusually bitey -- local TV station WTOP seems to be less jokingly frothing at the mouth to spur on fearmongering.

Is there actually a reason to think this fox, more than any other animal that happens to be spotted in the District, could be diseased?

D.C. Department of Health spokesperson Najma Roberts tells HuffPost that the DOH hadn't actually known about the fox before WTOP's report. She said that, once aware, animal control -- which falls under DOH's jurisdiction -- would be setting traps for the fox, then would examine it for signs that it could be a danger.

Roberts said that capturing and testing the fox does not mean that the city will be killing the fox, and that the "ultimate goal is not to harm the animal. Ultimately, we hope to release the animal."

"Residents should stay away from, never feed or engage with any wild animal," she said, advising that anyone in Washington who sees an animal behaving strangely in any way should call 311.

Meantime, here is some evidence that this fox is hardly the first to grace the U.S. Capitol grounds:

And here's some evidence that Godwin's law -- which posits that every internet conversation will eventually devolve into someone accusing someone else of being a Nazi -- needs to be expanded to say that every conversation about a fox will end with someone asking what, perchance, that animal says.

Let's just settle this part of the record, OK? This is what a fox says:



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