A Pennsylvania couple made an unusual discovery this week when the duo found a purple squirrel in their backyard.
The squirrel had gotten into a trap the couple uses to keep rodents out of their bird feeders.
AccuWeather reported the couple found the purple squirrel on Sunday in a trap they had set near their bird-feeders.
Percy and Connie Emert, of Jersey Shore, Pa., say they routinely catch squirrels and then release them into the wild, away from the feeders so the birds can peacefully eat.
"We have bird feeders out in our yard, and the squirrels are constantly into them," said Connie Emert. "My husband traps them and then sets them free elsewhere so they don't get into your bird feeders."
What they didn't expect as part of their routine was finding a purple squirrel, and Connie Emert was surprised.
"I kept telling my husband I saw a purple one out in the yard. 'Oh sure you did' he kept telling me," said Emert. "Well, he checked the trap around noon on Sunday and sure enough, there it was."
ABC News reported, “He figured it was just an off-color squirrel,” Emert said. “But when we trapped it on Sunday he [Percy Emert] was like, ‘My God, you were right. It was really purple.’”
Seemingly having an affinity for peanuts, the purple squirrel was drawn to the nuts the Emerts had set in the trap.
Theories range as to why the squirrel is purple, evidently not a common natural color for squirrels. Some thought the Emerts intentionally colored it, but the couple say this is not the case.
"We have no idea whatsoever. It's really purple. People think we dyed it, but honestly, we just found it and it was purple," Emert said.
Henry Margusity, Expert Senior Meteorologist at AccuWeather suspects the critter perhaps fell into a port-a-potty or similar area. Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski theorized maybe it was purple ink or paint.
Some think the situation is far more serious than an accidental dip in a purple liquid.
According to AccuWeather, Krish Pillai, a professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania said, "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 possibly from all the bromide laced frack water it's been drinking. I would raise the alarm. This could mean bladder cancer for humans down the road."
Aside from the commonly-seen gray squirrel, other colors less common include brown, red, black and white squirrels, although one other known purple squirrel has been captured on film. In winter 2008, the Daily Mail ran a story on a purple squirrel found at the Meoncross School in Stubbington, Hampshire.
As for the Penn. critter, not only does the squirrel garb a hip color, but is trendy when it comes to technology too. The purple squirrel was released by the Emerts back into the wild on Tuesday, however in the midst of its adventures had time to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts.
One Facebook user, Pam Andrews, expressed her feelings on the purple squirrel's page. "Oh brilliant, Just tell everyone where he was released so everyone now can go out there and try to trap o[r] kill him for his pelt. He should have been kept at least and tested for what contaminants m[a]y have possibly caused this."
Others on Facebook theorized the squirrel ate blueberries or gotten into something else that tinted his fur coat. Some Facebook users agreed with the fracking related theory.
What do you think? Genetic anomaly, diet, some sort of accidental mishap with a dye of some sort, or related to fracking the environment?