By Samantha Wright Allen, Ottawa Sun
Published on: July 23, 2014

Bus Fox

This fox grabbed 40 winks by taking a nap on an empty OC Transpo bus. Courtesy City of Ottawa

A picture of a fox curled in a cosy circle on an OC Transpo bus caused a social media stir Wednesday morning.

OC Transpo said the fox snuck on the bus while it was parked at a garage for regular maintenance.

The cute picture was getting traction on Twitter, with the original post being retweeted more than 1,200 times by Wednesday afternoon, and humorous hashtags such as #WhatDidTheFoxSay cropping up.

Even OC Transpo is using the popular #busfox hashtag, with the quip “Contrary to recent reports, OC Owl remains our mascot.”

A spokesperson for the Ottawa Humane Society said the organization got a call from an OC Transpo employee Sunday morning about the unexpected furry find.

A humane society representative and a nearby police officer boarded the bus to inspect the fox, but the startled animal leaped out the window before they could get a closer look.

The humane society employee was able to corral the fox, and inspect it for any injuries. Seeing none, they released the animal back into the wild — happy as a fox.

All this online action left a lot people in the city with questions about the red-furred local celebrity, said Heather Badenoch of the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

“People have been asking if we think the fox was sick or if it was behaving unusually,” she said. “We don’t think either.

“Foxes go out at night and foxes are fearful of people,” said Badenoch, adding both are true of the #busfox actions. “The most important concept for us to think about is that we as a population have expanded into the fox’s habitat. We’re actually on their territory.”

Badenoch said that from the picture, the ears and fur looked healthy and though foxes can carry rabies, there hasn’t been a case in Ottawa in years.

Another fox-related fear is that a it is a predator of the domestic cat. Not so, she said. Weighing in at about 11 pounds, the fox will only target other animals that are under two pounds.