So About That Hairy Guy on the Bus … True-Life Animal Commuters

The next time you take the bus, look out for one of these unexpected riders.

When one commuter boarded Seattle's D line bus, a fellow rider was astonished at her insistence in finding a window seat.

But Eclipse really needed that window seat. She's a two-year-old black lab-mastiff mix, and she knows to watch for her stop, the dog park, where she meets her owner Jeff Young.

The first time Eclipse took the bus by herself, Young had not yet finished his cigarette when the bus arrived. Rather than wait for her human to finish what he was doing, Eclipse jumped on the bus alone and took a window seat. When the bus stopped at the dog park, she knew to get off.

Young, only a few minutes behind on another bus, met up with Eclipse at the park. Since then, Eclipse has been known to hop on the bus by herself and wait for Young to catch up. Though Young was surprised the first time this happened, it has become part of their routine now. "Probably once a week I get a phone call," Young told "'Hi. I have your dog Eclipse here on Third and Bell.' I have to tell them, 'No, she's fine. She knows what she's doing.'"

Eclipse is not the first animal to prefer the comfort of modern public transportation. From birds on a train to goats on a bus—adaptable animals are learning how to get around our expanding cities.

Some are domestic—like cats—but coyotes, monkeys, and other wild species have also found their way onto public transportation.


Birds on a train? Believe it. Pigeons have been known to take the A Line on the New York City subway. According to a 2002 New York Times article, when trains lay over at Far Rockaway Station at the end of the line, pigeons walk onto the trains in search of crumbs.

"But being pigeons, they do not listen for the announcement that the train is leaving, and the doors close on them. They ride generally for one stop, exiting as soon as the doors open again," the Times reported.

But they're not total bird brains: The article reported that a train conductor would see them promptly fly back to the Far Rockaway terminal for more free food. (See National Geographic's bird pictures.)

Domestic Goat

Talk about getting your goat—an owner in Multnomah County, Oregon, was asked to retrieve her pet goat after it escaped and hitched a ride on a Portland school bus in 2008.

The goat was "taken into custody by transit police for lack of proper fare," Portland news station WCSH reported, citing a Multnomah County Animal Control official.

Also in 2008, in Mahoning County, Ohio, news station WFMJ reported on a pet goat that would follow its owner onto a school bus—giving new meaning to the term "new kid on the block."


Wily as ever, the coyote has taken to city life, increasingly popping up in urban areas from Chicago to New York.

The predators are versatile—eating everything from shoe leather to fruit—and adaptable, shifting their normally daytime schedules to night to adapt to city life, experts say. (See city pictures.)

In 2002, a coyote hopped on the light rail at the airport in Portland, Oregon, and got comfortable on a seat—but wildlife specialists removed and released it before the train took off.

Even so, the sneaky interloper is forever immortalized in a song: Sleater-Kinney's "Light-Rail Coyote."

Domestic Cat

Famous for their curiosity, cats seem to be the most frequent commuters—especially in England. (Also see "Curious Cat Walks Over Medieval Manuscript.")

Take Macavity, the kitty who would get on a busy bus at the same stop in Walsall every morning, and then jump off at the next stop not far down the road—which just happens to be near a fish-and-chip shop, the Daily Mail reported in 2007.

"I suppose he is the perfect passenger really—he sits quietly, minds his own business, and then gets off," passenger Paul Brennan told the paper.

Then there's Casper the commuter cat, which BBC News reported in 2009 was a regular on a bus near its home in St. Budeaux, England. Sadly, Casper died in 2010 after being hit by a car while crossing the road to board the bus, according to the Daily Mail.

A commuting feline named Dodger liked to sit in laps as he rode the bus around Dorset, England, the Daily Mail reported in 2011. His owner suspects the cat was attracted to the warmth of the bus and recently vacated seats.

Rhesus Monkey

Delhi has a monkey on its back—well, make that several thousand. The Indian city's rhesus monkey population is exploding, bolstered by people who feed the critters, which are considered living representatives of the Hindu god Hanuman, according to a 2012 article in the New York Times.

The emboldened animals have also overrun parts of the city. According to the Times, the animals "treat the Indian Parliament building as a playground, have invaded the prime minister's office and Defense Ministry, sometimes ride buses and subway trains, and chase diplomats from their well-tended gardens."

This monkey videotaped on the Delhi metro looks like a regular commuter, responsibly holding on to the banister and settling into a seat.

Tell us: Have you seen an animal getting around in an unusual way?