Purple squirrel: A couple in Jersey Shore, Pa., spotted a squirrel with a purple hue. Speculations as to how the animal got that way include pokeberries, fracking fluid, and a portable toilet.
Jersey Shore, Pa.
A couple in central Pennsylvania found a very unusual critter in their backyard — a purple squirrel.
Percy Emert said he and his wife, Connie, have cage-like traps in their yard to keep squirrels away from the bird feeders. Percy Emery then releases the squirrels into the woods away from his home but joked that sometimes they make it back to his house before he does.
"I came home (one day recently) and my wife said, 'You're not going to believe it but I saw a purple squirrel in the yard,'" he said Thursday. "So I put out a trap with a couple of peanuts inside."
Before too long, the squirrel came back and found itself in the trap Sunday.
"I thought, 'Nobody's going to believe me," he said. "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 and even has its own Facebook page.
After the couple released the squirrel Tuesday, Percy Emert said a state game warden came by and took samples of purple fur that the squirrel left behind inside the cage, as well as six to eight pieces of fur that Percy Emert took from the squirrel's tail before releasing it.
"It looked like it was healthy, the only thing was that its teeth were brown," he said.
Asked about the possibility of having this particular squirrel making its way back to his house, Emert said he thought it was unlikely.
"It's far enough away," he said. "Maybe we'll hear about someone in town seeing it."