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Purple Squirrels

Updated on November 10, 2016

One purple squirrel is a strange curiosity, but in recent years they have been popping up all over the place including both British and American examples! No definitive explanation has been offered for this curious coloring, but some suggestions are summarized at the bottom of this hub.

Minnesota (1997)

This somewhat indistinct photograph (see right) shows a purple squirrel spotted by a resident of a town in Minnesota.

Pete (2008)

A purple squirrel turned up on the grounds of a school in Hampshire, United Kingdom. He was photographed several times and caused a great deal of speculation as to the cause of his unusual coloration.

Pennsylvania (2012)

This purple squirrel was trapped for a few days in Pennsylvania and the then released back into the wild. He caused a flurry of publicity leading to the squirrel having a Facebook page and Twitter account.

Ebay Purple Squirrel (2012)

A taxidermy specimen of a purple-tinted squirrel was offered on Ebay. Its origin and the cause of the coloration are unknown. This one is most likely a man-made gaff.

Squirrel (2012?)

Ryan Cheech Morrissey posted this more subtly colored squirrel on Facebook.

Why are the purple?

Explanations offered for purple squirrels include:

As yet there is not definite answer as to what is producing these purple squirrels--and no new examples have been spotted since 2012. So what caused a spate of sighting for just a few years remains unclear.

In Art

Sarina Brewer created a taxidermy purple squirrel for an art show with the theme of Urban Legends.

Namesakes

Apparently because purple squirrels are rare it is used by recruiters as a name for the perfect candidate for a job. It is also the name of a drink and a bakery.

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    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks psycheskinner, squirrels are forever making news. I've never seen a purple one, only the grays and brownish ones. They are an interesting species. Hopefully people will allow them to live on. Keep up the good work.

    • shai77 profile image

      Chen 4 years ago

      Absolutely wild. I had no idea about this phenomenon. It will be interesting to see if they ever figure out why the squirrels are purple. They should be able to detect chemicals on the fur, or minerals in a blood test, no? Interesting & voted up1

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      This was too cool, I like the idea you had here of examining such a thing as a Purple Squirrels, Wow! cool hub psycheskinner.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Very good hub indeed;unique and interesting.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Take care and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • fen lander profile image

      fen lander 5 years ago from Whitstable

      They've been eating magic mushrooms from the hole where they'd buried their nuts, I reckon....

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      I've heard of Black Squirrels, they are getting quite common in Eastern England, but Purple Squirrels! Pollution of some sort must be a factor, can't think of any other reason.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 5 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      lol you can turn most things purple by adding potassium permanganate but I think the squirrel would get very sick!

    • Alexander Pease profile image

      Alexander Pease 5 years ago from Maine

      This raised the question: is it possibly due to chemical reagents?

      This was a good hub, but, maybe add a little more meat to it later on.

      Alexander.