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Pete the purple squirrel leaves animal lovers baffled

Posted By On 11:55 AM Under ,
Baffled animal lovers are trying to explain why a PURPLE squirrel has turned up in the grounds of the school.

Teachers and pupils thought the rodent, who they have named Pete, may have fallen into purple paint or had a run-in with some purple dye.


But people who have seen the squirrel say they do not believe this explains its even colouring.

Dr Mike Edwards, an English teacher at Meoncross School in Stubbington, Hants, first spotted the squirrel outside his classroom window.

He said: '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.

'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.'

Since the squirrel made its first appearance, pupils, staff and parents have been trying to solve the riddle.
Bill Oddie



They have contacted vets and even emailed TV nature expert Bill Oddie to see if an explanation could be found.

Lorraine Orridge, the school's registrar, believes Pete's unusual-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.

'When we first spotted him he was more blue than purple, which we thought was great because it matches our school colours - it was like he was wearing his own uniform.

'He is a very shy character and only really comes out when pupils are in lessons. If anyone approaches he runs away.

'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 believes Pete will 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.

'Alternatively he may have fallen into a bucket containing a weak colour solution that has stained his fur.

'He is unlikely to have fallen into paint because that would probably have killed him.

'The colouring does not seem to have done him any harm and I imagine he will return to his normal colour by spring when his fur moults.

'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.'

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