Meet Didi the Virginia Opossum

Meet Didi the Virginia Opossum

WildCare would like you to meet our newest Wildlife Ambassador, Didi the Virginia Opossum! 

Didi came to us late last year after being caught by a cat. Although she didn't have any obvious wounds, an X-ray revealed she has hip dysplasia: her hips do not sit in their sockets like they should. This impacts her walking and climbing, and means she would not survive in the wild. It also probably explains how she got caught by a cat in the first place! 

We held a naming contest to choose this opossum's name, and the winning name was Didi! All of WildCare's non-releasable Wildlife Ambassador animals have names that help educate about their species. Didi's name comes from her species' Latin name, Didelphis virginiana.

Thank you to everyone who voted to choose Didi's name! She has settled well into her life at WildCare as an educational Wildlife Ambassador.

At a recent presentation, one attendee approached Dr. Ryane Logsdon to say that meeting Didi and learning how amazing opossums are had completely changed her mind about them!

Opossums are North America's only native marsupial mammal. These incredibly adaptable animals thrive in climates across the United States, and they make great neighbors because they eat virtually everything!

Your neighborhood opossums will take care of the slugs and snails in your garden, eat the rats and mice in your yard, and snarf down fallen fruit, insects and carrion. They are fastidious groomers, and they'll eat any ticks they find in their fur.

Opossums often get blamed for nuisance behavior of other wildlife. An opossum is unlikely to knock over a garbage can, but he’ll take advantage of spilled garbage
after the raccoons are done. Opossums don’t dig, but they will take advantage of worms and grubs unearthed by a digging skunk.

Opossums are essentially immune to the rabies virus. Their average body temperature is about 94-96º F, too low for the rabies virus to take hold. They don’t get distemper (that’s a canine disease), and they are essentially immune to pit viper (i.e. rattlesnake) venom.

Opossums are great climbers. They have a prehensile tail which they use as a safety line but they don’t hang by their tails to sleep—Disney made that up. They
do use their dexterous tails to carry dried leaf litter and grasses back to their den for bedding. To help them climb, these amazing animals also have opposable
thumbs on both their front and back feet.

Opossums are very good mothers. The mother opossum will carry her 13 babies in her marsupium, or pouch, for over three months until they are old enough to
emerge and ride on her back. Once they get too large, they will fall off her back, usually one or two at a time. At that point, the young opossum is on his own,
ready to get to work eating the ticks, slugs, snails and other unwanted garden pests in your yard.

WildCare encourages you to appreciate these amazing animals and look for Didi in upcoming WildCare Education Programs for schools and groups!