The baby Virginia Opossum in the video above came to WildCare after a very traumatic experience. At this age, she and her siblings would have been riding on their mother's back, learning the ways of the world while mom foraged for food. Unfortunately, this mother opossum wandered too close to a road, and, as happens so often, she was hit by a car, killing her instantly.
Astonishingly, although not all of her babies survived, these six baby opossums managed to live through the collision that killed their mother! The force of the impact likely jarred them loose from their tight grip on the fur of her back-- all of the babies were found within several feet of their mother's body, huddling in the dirt by the side of the road.
We are so grateful that this rescuer stopped to check for babies when she saw the opossum on the side of the road!
It might sound crazy, but WildCare encourages anyone who sees a hit-by-car opossum to pull over (if it is safe to do so) and check for newly-orphaned babies. It is astounding how often you'll find them!
Once the baby opossums were at the Wildlife Hospital, WildCare Medical Staff immediately went into action. The babies had likely been on the side of the road for a few hours, so they were dehydrated, chilled and in shock. Medical Staff heated dry towels in the microwave to warm the babies quickly and gently, did full medical exams on each little opossum, and gave them subcutaneous fluids to hydrate them. Of the six babies now in our care, five were in perfect health despite their ordeal.
However, the sixth baby, a female, had significant injuries. There were severe lacerations on her right forelimb, and the limb was very swollen and limp. She also had a large gash in the corner of her mouth. She was obviously in pain, so Medical Staff quickly gave her pain medications and laid out her treatment plan.
Two days later, surgery to suture the lacerated forelimb went very well, and the little opossum pulled through anesthesia, suturing and stabilization of the leg beautifully.
As of this writing, all six opossums are thriving in Foster Care. In the video above, WildCare's Veterinarian, Dr. Sorem and Opossum Foster Care Specialist, Kate Lynch are doing a post-surgery follow-up exam on the little opossum. Although her forelimb is still limp, she shows some mobility in it that is very encouraging. With luck, and the excellent care she'll receive at WildCare, this little opossum is likely to make a full recovery! Click here to donate to help WildCare raise these orphaned opossums to be healthy and wild!
Hard-working Wildlife Moms
All wildlife mothers work incredibly hard to raise their young, and clearly this mother opossum had been doing a great job until her unfortunate accident.
To get a feeling for what it's like to be a mother opossum, watch the video of a an opossum family in care at WildCare a couple of years ago. Opossums are great moms, and they make wonderful neighbors!
Did you know opossums groom and eat as many as 5,000 ticks off themselves in a given year? They are a leading source of tick control in our backyards, helping to prevent the spread of tick-borne illness like Lyme Disease.