On July 26, 2013, the Wildlife Center admitted Virginia Opossum #13-2013 along with its three other siblings. The opossums’ rescuer found them on their dead mother, who was likely hit by a car. At that time the Center had around twenty infant opossums, most were orphans.
While the four opossums were bright, alert, and responsive, all were dehydrated and thin. While opossum #13-2013’s three siblings were basically healthy, the veterinary staff noted that #13-2013 had a severe bacterial infection in her right eye. The infant opossum was given antibiotics, and began a feeding schedule where she was tube-fed a milk replacer four times a day. While her body condition improved, her right eye did not respond to treatment. On September 1, the veterinary staff determined that the eye would need to be removed. With only one eye, the opossum would not be able to be released back into the wild; she was declared as a possible education ambassador candidate for the Wildlife Center.
Once it was decided that she would remain at the Wildlife Center, the staff began to socialize the young opossum. The Wildlife Center’s staff handled her every day and took measures to ensure that she was becoming accustomed to being handled as well as being touched on her head, body, feet, and ears.
On September 5, the juvenile opossum underwent surgery and successfully had her eye removed. While she recovered, 13-2013 received pain medication and wore an e-collar to prevent her from irritating her eye and stitches.
On September 12, her collar was removed, followed by her stitches two days later.
The young opossum began acclimating to the outdoors on September 27 for a few hours at a time to get her ready to live in her own outdoor enclosure next to the other education opossums. The young female is continuing with her training and is behaving well on the glove. If all goes well with her training, she will be named later this fall and begin participating in the Center’s many education programs.