Percy and Connie Emert, of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, have cage-like traps in their yard to keep squirrels away from the bird feeders. Later, Percy releases the squirrels into the woods away from his home.
To their great surprise, the couple found a purple squirrel in one of their traps on trap Sunday.
Percy said: “I thought, ‘Nobody’s going to believe me.' Even the inside of its ears were purple. It wasn’t like it fell into something. It didn’t look like that at all.”
The animal quickly became an online sensation withits own Facebook and Twitter pages.
The couple released the squirrel Tuesday and a state game warden came by and took samples of purple fur that the squirrel left behind inside the cage.
Henry Kacprzyk, a curator at the Pittsburgh Zoo, said Thursday: "I’ve got to think one of the suggestions might be it fell in a Porta John that had blue coloration. I have no idea why … but I don’t think it was born that way.”
While people are yucking it up over the purple squirrel, it's possible it could be a sign of danger. One professor suggests the purple color could be from the squirrel drinking bromide-laced water, caused by hydraulic fracking, which can lead to ground water contamination.