Accu-Weather has reported that a Pennsylvania couple managed to trap a purple squirrel on Sunday.
Percy and Connie Emert, of Jersey Shore, Pa. caught the unusual animal when trying to keep birds safe from the rodents. According to Connie:
“We have bird feeders out in our yard, and the squirrels are constantly into them. My husband traps them and then sets them free elsewhere so they don’t get into your bird feeders.”
Recently Connie begain to claim that that she had spotted a purple squirrel on her property, but — as in the case of so many UNCLASSIFIED animal sightings — no one believed her:
“I kept telling my husband I saw a purple one out in the yard. ‘Oh sure you did’ he kept telling me. Well, he checked the trap around noon on Sunday and sure enough, there it was… the squirrel’s been eating peanuts. That’s what we used in the trap.”
No one including the Emerts knows why the squirrel is purple, but they provided it with an ample home for its short stay. According to Connie:
“We have no idea whatsoever. It’s really purple. People think we dyed it, but honestly, we just found it and it was purple… we put him in an extra big cage so he has room to run around, and we’ll release him soon. In the meantime, all the neighbors have been by to see him. No one can believe we have a purple squirrel!”
Unfortunately for science, the Emerts released the squirrel back into the wild on Tuesday, but theories abound as to what cause the bizarre fur pigmentation. Some have speculated that the unfortunate creature might have fallen into a port-a-potty, while others believe it might have gotten into some purple ink, which was the theory when people saw a purple squirrel called Pete in the U.K. in 2008. Another purple squirrel was sighted in Minnesota in 1997.
John Griffin — Director of Humane Wildlife Services for the Humane Society — believes that the color may be natural:
“It might be possible that there was some introduction of a product into the nesting material that imparted this color to the fur, or accidental immersion/contact with a dying or coloring compound during [its] lifetime, [but] the color [of the squirrel] does not appear to be even which would make me think that it is likely to be the natural color of the fur.”
Krish Pillai, a professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania is concerned by the implications apparent in this anomalous animal:
“This is not good at all. That color looks very much like Tyrian purple. It is a natural organobromide compound seen in molluscs and rarely found in land animals. The squirrel has too much bromide in its system.”
Animal raiser, Ruth Dixon, claimed to have had a rabbit with purple fur and believes that it maybe be a mutation:
“I think it’s a genetic foul-up. The rabbit had other problems worse than his color.”