Purple squirrel in England

This purple squirrel has been hanging around Meoncross School in Stubbington, England. Nobody is quite sure where it's unusual fur color comes from, but the school's registrar Lorraine Orridge has a suspicion. From The Telegraph:
Purplesquirrrelll "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.
Purple squirrel baffles experts



  1. I think the toner hypothesis is not only valid, but also very likely. I have a pet hamster and he just LOVES to dust himself with very fine dust; it makes his coat very good looking and soft to the touch. This is true of many rodents and here is a video of a squirrel exhibiting the same behavior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uei3qO_ixAY

  2. He’s been treated with GV (Gentian violet), same as that purple polar bear “hoax” from a few years back, if I had to guess.

  3. @7 infikitsune – I was thinking more violet than magenta. Guess we should clarify whether we’re talking RGB or CMYK.

  4. Actually, he is just about the same shade as the text on papers my students hand in–you know, the pale ghostly purple of an inkjet that’s 100% out of black ink and is compensating by using the color ink it’s 99.9% out of.

    But that doesn’t explain why he isn’t stuck halfway out of the input tray in a printer blinking “SQUIRREL MISFEED IN CART B.”

  5. That squirrel looks like it’s glowing. If there’s a glowing animal, chances are it was either genetically modified, or it’s radioactive. If all goes according to canon, it’ll bite someone and they become a glowing-purple-squirrel-themed underwear pervert.

  6. Could be a random mutation in a gene that determines the shape of the hair shaft which causes the light at the high end of the spectrum to be absorbed and the low end to be reflected. On the other hand it could be a hoax.

  7. not pink enough to be magenta. definitely violet.

    i think it’s real; i saw a few other pics on other sites w/ the same story. sorry, not going to take time to retrace links but probably searchable if yr interested. just hope the stuff isn’t toxic.

  8. I’ve never seen a purple squirrel.
    I never hope to see one.
    But I can tell you anyhow… (Wait, that doesn’t rhyme, darn it!)
    I’d rather see than be one.

  9. I have to agree with #3 and #6. This is an OBVIOUS Photoshop job. Just look at the shadows on the squirrel. Why are they hyper glowing purple and not darker as one would expect? I call Photoshop BS!

    Then again, maybe I protest so much because I refuse to come to terms with the actualization of my greatest fear:

    It could be that the Squirrel King has finally eaten the Forbidden Acorn that grows from The Oak of Woe and has acquired the Power Cosmic. I hope that I am mistaken. If not the Road Kill Army will surely rise from beneath our feet to sup upon the testicles (and other nut like organs)of those that sent them to their rubber and asphalt graves.

  10. “Oh, and by the way, the suit? It wasn’t cheap. You oughta know, you bought it…WHY SO SERIOUS?”

    As for myself, I welcome our new purple squirrel overlords.

  11. first guess is photoshopped. on the off chance it just -looks- photoshopped, may i suggest that this could be the result of the joyful children’s game “kool-aid bomb the local wildlife”?

  12. We used to have this crazy neighbor kid who would trap squirrels in his backyard and dye them with Kool-Aid. We had purple and blue squirrels running around for about three years.

  13. Except that it really does look photoshopped.

    His feet and unders should be in shadow but they’re luminescent blue and the whole critter looks like he’s faintly glowing.
    There probably is a real purple squirrel running around the school but it looks like someone either quickly faked a pic to run with the story, or edited a real shot to highlight his purple-ness.

    I dunno. Maybe he’s just a magic squirrel and about to cast a spell.

  14. Actually, toner usually tends to be blacker, rather than bluish. My vote (after photoshop) is that the critter lined his nest with old cloth printer (and fax) ribbons from dot-matrix or line printers. Ribbon ink tends to be bluer than toner and sleeping in a pile of them would apply the coating fairly evenly.

  15. The second image on the Telegraph site, where the squirrel is in a tree, looks more normal and natural, without the “glowing” artifacts. Perhaps someone just boosted the saturation on the first picture.

    Pretty well every picture ever printed has had some manipulation – printing in positive rather than negative, for instance, and colour and contrast correction, and cropping, and size-changing.

  16. As for the argument that the shadows look way too purple… if you’ve ever seen a color toner printer explode, you know that it creates pretty intense day-glo effects. Looks like the purple is brightest on its paws and belly, which makes sense as they’d be the most exposed to the toner if it was tearing into it or grooming with it. Just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes a photo that looks photoshopped really does just LOOK photoshopped.

  17. aand even as we speak, a whole host of furry critters have been kidnapped and are in various basement labs across the world being subjected to tinting treatments to perpetuate the Neon Furred Beast meme.

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