Saturday, December 27, 2008

Purple Squirrel: Weird!

Teachers and pupils at Meoncross School in Stubbington, Hants, {UK} were amazed when they saw the creature through the window during a lesson. Since the squirrel, now nicknamed Pete, was first seen, it has become a regular fixture at the school but no one has been able to say whether the animal has fallen into purple paint, had a run-in with some purple dye, or whether there is another explanation.

Dr Mike Edwards, an English teacher, 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.

"Its fur actually looks purple all the way through. It's an absolute mystery."

Pupils, staff and parents have contacted vets and even e-mailed television nature expert Bill Oddie to see if an explanation could be found. Lorraine Orridge, the school's registrar, believes Pete's 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. 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. 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."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cat Loves Mouse

Many times on this site, we've shown how mammals will adopt and coexist in harmony with odd species, even natural enemies.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

White Raccoon Sightings

Albino raccoon spotted in Riverside
November 03, 2008 at 08:40 PM

RIVERSIDE—With ghostly white fur and gripping claws, an elusive creature creeping through trees has piqued the interest of a Riverside neighborhood.

Melinda Lehman and Jim Cybul, Lionel Road residents, live on the block where rumors were circulating about a strange, ghostly animal. No one had any clear idea of what it was. They said neighbors had spotted this thing, but no one ever got a good look at it.

“About a month ago, we began hearing about a white creature,” Lehman said. “It became an urban legend—it was seen in the neighbor’s lawn and trees and someone saw it in their back yard.”

Someone said it was not a raccoon or a badger, but it looked familiar, like a fuzzy cat.

”(One neighbor) drew a conclusion that wild cats were mating with opossums and this was now the result,” Cybul said. “Of course, we all laughed hysterically at this.”

On Oct. 23, Cybul was barbecuing in his back yard when he saw something walk down the driveway. It was clearly a raccoon, but it was white.

“We have proof of what it is and researched it,” Cybul said. “Albino raccoons do appear physically different as opposed to the average raccoon.”

Scott Garrow, wildlife biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said it is an unusual animal, but albino mammals do exist.

“It is genetic. The genes for albinism will show up; it is like a recessive gene that normally doesn’t occur,” he said.

Normally, albino animals are not seen in the wild because they don’t survive, according to Garrow.

“It is not something that will persist,” he said. ”(We) won’t see a cluster of raccoons, and it will probably die out.”


Jan 31, 2007 Morgantown WV

Rare white raccoon captured downtown: Albino, sibling found near Pleasant Street released to woods.

Byline: J. Miles Layton

Jan. 31--An albino raccoon was captured foraging for food this week outside an apartment building on Pleasant Street in Morgantown. The critter is white, has pink eyes with a slightly yellow hue, weighs 7 or 8 pounds, and is about a foot long.

The black mask usually found around a raccoon's eyes was a deeper shade of white. Mike Gray, a professional trapper with 30 years of experience, caught the creature and one of its regularly colored siblings by using marshmallows as bait to bring them inside a cage trap.


Weird White Raccoon

This white raccoon lives in the woods near a Rockledge subdivision. Brevard Zoo officials say they cannot capture and display the rare animal because it is healthy.

Woman fears for albino raccoon's safety
BY RICK NEALE • FLORIDA TODAY • December 1, 2008

The pale-furred mutant likes to munch on grapes and cat food, said a woman who feeds and photographs the elusive animal. Fearful for the albino creature's safety, the woman asked Brevard Zoo officials to trap it and put it on public display. She asked FLORIDA TODAY to withhold her identity so hunters would not converge on the raccoon's territory.

"I'd hate to see him get shot as a trophy," she said. "This is something kids would love to see. He is so unique."

Michelle Smurl, Brevard Zoo's director of animal programs, said the zoo is not at liberty to trap an adult animal that is thriving in the wild. She viewed photos of the animal and confirmed that it is a white raccoon.

"The raccoon looks healthy, and it looks like it's doing well," Smurl said. "I grew up with white squirrels up in New York, and I was worried that someone was going to shoot them."

Raccoons are common across the state and live "everywhere there are trees," according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Web site. These omnivores are about the size of a small dog and are identifiable by "black mask" facial features and bushy ringed tails.

But according to a KFOR-TV report of an Oklahoma white raccoon sighting, only one in 750,000 albino raccoons will survive to adulthood.

Earlier this month, a ghostly white raccoon startled an Illinois man during a backyard barbecue, Prairie State Outdoors reported.

Two ivory-colored raccoons were trapped earlier this year in Tennessee, leading a Memphis Commercial Appeal outdoors columnist to proclaim, "You have a better chance of being struck by a bolt from Mother Nature than seeing an albino raccoon."

Smurl said humans should not feed raccoons because they are wild animals.