Pennsylvania has a purple squirrel. Accuweather and MSNBC were there and took pics and a video.
Everyone whom has seen it up close says it is definitely not pained, all though someone laughed and said, “PETA PAINTED IT”.
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.”
Jeff Moore, another Facebook commenter, suggested that “Someone from PETA threw paint on it.”
Ruth Dixon, said that she had a rabbit with purple fur. “I think it’s a genetic foul-up. The rabbit had other problems worse than his color.”
Local squirrel enthusiast Erik Stewart said, “If it has white hair on it at all, it’s probably not dyed. I’ve had multiple squirrels as pets, though, and I’ve certainly never seen a purple one. I’ve seen dark red, light red, gray and brown, but never purple. Also, I’ve tried to dye my dog before, and trust me it didn’t look like this. Though, I’ve only seen a picture, so your guess is as good as mine.”
“It’s not typical, but it’s not impossible,” said Harold Cole, a warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission who investigated the case. Cole said it’s also possible that the squirrel ingested something that lent a purple tinge to the fur — maybe the local pokeberries, maybe an industrial compound, maybe even a food containing purple pigment. The game warden pointed to the example of flamingos, which get their pink or orange color from the food they eat.
The guess is he got into some bromite along the way, which occurs naturally out in sea creatures such as molluscs which he may have eaten. Either he could have been near the sea, or gotten into some sea food garbage somewhere. This compound is rarely found in land animals.
Does this make you feel fearful like we’ve gone chemical crazy like we might see in the movies and we are doomed?