Purple squirrel leaves British experts baffled

December 22nd, 2008 - 7:31 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 22 (ANI): A purple squirrel, spotted by pupils and staff at a British school, has baffled experts because they don”t seem to find any explanation for the ”unusual” colour of the animal. Teachers and pupils at Meoncross School in Stubbington, Hants, were left gob-smacked when they first saw the creature through the window during a lesson.
And since then, the squirrel, now nicknamed Pete, has become a regular fixture at the school.
However, no one has yet found out whether the animal has fallen into purple paint, had a run-in with some purple dye, or whether there is another explanation.
“I was sitting in my classroom and looked out the window and saw it sitting on the fence. I had to do a double take. Since then it’’s been a bit of a regular at the school - everyone’’s seen it,” the Telegraph quoted Dr. Mike Edwards, an English teacher, as saying.
He added: “We thought it might have been paint or something but then when you look at it up close, it’’s an all over coat, not in patches like you”d expect if it had been near some paint.
“Its fur actually looks purple all the way through. It’’s an absolute mystery.” Pupils, staff and parents have contacted vets and even e-mailed television nature expert Bill Oddie to see if an explanation could be found.
According to Lorraine Orridge, the school’’s registrar, Pete’’s coloured fur looks like a school uniform.
She said: “The squirrel has become a bit of a legend among staff and pupils at the school. He makes an appearance most days and we always look forward to seeing him.
She added: “We don”t think he is a mutant squirrel but he may have had a mishap around the school. The old building where we have seen him nipping in and out is a bit of a graveyard for computer printers. He may have found some printer toners in there. We haven”t seen any purple baby squirrels yet.”
TV wildlife expert Chris Packham claimed that Pete would moult and lose his purple fur in time for spring.
He said: “I have never seen anything like it before. Squirrels will chew anything even if it’’s obviously inedible. It is possible he has been chewing on a purple ink cartridge and then groomed that colouring into his fur.
He added: “Alternatively he may have fallen into a bucket containing a weak colour solution that has stained his fur. Underneath there’’s a normal grey squirrel who has just given himself an unusual hair colour - you would pay a fortune for that in some salons.” (ANI)

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