ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (John Shelman, CourierTraveler)  - Finding a grasshopper in Kansas is not unusual, but finding a pink grasshopper is.

John Shelman of the CourierTraveler reports that Kandon Watson, 8, of Arkansas City said he was out in the yard searching for big green grasshoppers when he stood up and saw something pink. He knew it was a grasshopper, so he went over for a closer look.

“I thought it was really cool,” he said. “I showed it to Aunt Nina, and then I threw it over beside the trash can.”

He said he wasn’t afraid of it, he just wanted to set it free.

But his aunt looked up pink grasshoppers on the Internet and discovered that Kandon had found a very rare insect.

“We went back over to where I threw it and somehow, I found it,” he said. “I named it Pinky.”

The CourierTraveler reports that some of his family members didn’t believe that he had actually found a pink grasshopper. His grandfather wasn’t convinced at first, and his father in Ponca City, Okla., was also skeptical.

“His dad said, ‘Aaaah, I’ve never heard of a pink grasshopper,’” his great-aunt Maredith Watson said with a laugh.

Grasshoppers can turn pink due to a genetic mutation known as erythrism, which causes a reddish discoloration, according to National Geographic. That discoloration can also occur in fur, hair, skin, feathers or egg shells. The combination of red hair and freckles in humans is also thought to be a form of erythrism.

Scientists think pink grasshoppers, however rare they may be, won’t survive long in the wild because they’re easily found by predators. That makes Kandon’s discovery all the more unusual.

They called Shawn Silliman at the Chaplin Nature Center to ask him about the find. He’d never seen one, Watson said, so they planned to take it out for him to look at. They said they might let the Nature Center preserve it and put it on display.

For now, Kandon is keeping the grasshopper in a jar filled with leaves and giving it food and water. Watson said when she picked up Kandon from school last Thursday, he mentioned that they should probably replace the leaves with some fresh ones to help the grasshopper hide.

“He said, ‘As best as you can hide if you’re pink,’” Watson said with a laugh.

They thought about taking it to Kandon’s school to show the class, but decided against it.

“One hop and he’s gone, and you’re probably not going to catch it,” Watson said. “With this little guy being a baby, I’m not sure how long it’s going to last.”

Kandon agreed. The other classes would probably want him to take it out of the jar, “Which isn’t a good idea,” he said.

Kandon told his great aunt that thought he had finally achieved something by finding a pink grasshopper. Watson said the discovery prompted a lot of learning opportunities with reading and research.

“He already knows a lot about insects, he just learned a little bit more,” she said.

Pinky is just a baby, Kandon said, so he assumes it still has more time to live. But he plans to search for more.