Page last updated at 18:56 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Ink clue over 'purple' squirrel

Pupils and staff at a Hampshire school have been baffled over sightings of a purple-coloured squirrel.

The animal, named Pete the Purple Squirrel, has been spotted around Meoncross School's roof in Stubbington.

Animal experts were initially at a loss as to explain the animal's colour as squirrels are usually grey or red.

But the squirrel has been seen nipping in and out of a building where old computer cartridges are stored - and the ink seems to have rubbed off.

Wildlife expert Chris Packham said: "I'm wondering whether one of the cartridges has, one of two things, either leaked into some water into which the squirrel has bathed or fallen, which seems the least likely."

He said that squirrels were so curious they would chew anything.

"I know it sounds absurd but there is no reason why it wouldn't have chewed up an old printer cartridge, perhaps got this on to its paw or its mouth and groomed it into its fur."

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