Don’t let those perky ears and fuzzy red coat fool you — the fox that’s been spotted all over the Capitol Hill grounds in the last few weeks could be dangerous — to one’s health, and even to democracy itself.

The critter and its antics, from sunning on the West Lawn to taking down a squirrel for lunch, has turned into a bit of a celebrity and a social-media darling, cropping up on Instagram photos and Facebook pages of staffers and visitors. But one congressman who ought to know recommends caution, and suggests that the animal might be to blame for some of the weirder doings among lawmakers of late (does that make it a scape-fox?).

“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,”  says Rep. Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Democrat who was a farmer and veterinarian for more than thirty years before coming to Congress. “On second thought, it’s possible that it may have bitten some of my colleagues. That explains a lot.”