Yes, this post is about a squirrel that is purple and that was found in a town called Jersey Shore that is in Pennsylvania (i.e., not near the actual Jersey Shore).
On Sunday, Connie and Percy Emert discovered a squirrel that is definitely purple as photos on AccuWeather, YahooNews and Facebook reveal. The Emerts said they have a number of bird feeders in their yard and that squirrels are constantly getting into them; Percy Emert has set up traps for the squirrels and releases them into the wild — and so, on Sunday, the Emerts found themselves getting a very good view of what was indeed a purple squirrel in one of the traps. After putting the squirrel into a larger cage so their neighbors could see their unexpected “guest,” the Emerts released the animal back into the wild.
Connie Emert opined that the squirrel had been dyed. AccuWeather‘s staff offered a couple of other explanations, such as that the squirrel had fallen into a “port-a-potty or something similar” (if that is the case, good thing the squirrel was able to get itself out). In 2008, a purple squirrel called Pete was seen in the UK and purple ink hypothesized as the reason. AccuWeather cited some other other suggestions:
John Griffin, Director of Humane Wildlife Services for the Humane Society, said “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.” He also said “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, commented that “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 (possibly) has too much bromide in its system.”
The squirrel could have gotten bromide into its system from drinking water containing the chemical — and the bromide could have gotten into groundwater as a result of hydraulic fracking, which can produce highly toxic radioactive wastewater, says YahooNews. Fracking is indeed common in Pennsylvania.
In other words, the purple squirrel could be just yet another one of those weird-but-true animal stories we read about so much on the Internet. Or it could be a sign that something is not so right out there in our nature, so that animals are sporting decidedly artificial colors.
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Photo by ibm4381