Saying Goodbye to Delphine the Opossum

The Wildlife Center is sad to announce the loss of Delphine the Virginia Opossum on March 5, 2018. Admitted as a fully-grown adult in the spring of 2016, we know that she was at least three years in age at the time of her death, nearly twice the average lifespan for her species in the wild. Delphine was the eldest member of the Center’s opossum ambassador team.

Delphine came to the Center after being found injured on the side of South Delphine Avenue, and was rescued by an outreach staff member. The veterinary team discovered Delphine had suffered severe head injuries — and that she had a pouch full of babies.

Permanent head trauma and vision loss ultimately made Delphine non-releasable; remarkably, she was able to raise all nine of her babies, which were released in June of 2016. She officially joined the outreach team just one month later.

During the past few days, the rehabilitation staff noted that Delphine seemed to have an unusually small appetite; the veterinary staff performed a physical exam on March 4 to determine potential cause for this decreased appetite and to make sure there were no underlying health concerns. Complications arose during one of the procedures, most likely due to the respiratory issues discovered during her annual exam in February, and Delphine was placed in a critical care oxygen chamber overnight to support her breathing.

Delphine quietly passed away later that night. Based on a post-mortem examination, the veterinary team suspect that Delphine likely had cancer.

During her education career at the Wildlife Center, Delphine was featured in 57 programs that reached more than 3,500 children and adults. Delphine’s final official appearance was in October of 2017, when she traveled to a nearby elementary school with outreach coordinator Alex to teach students about nocturnal animals. She was well-known by staff members to be an outgoing opossum filled with curiosity who understood the value of a good nap.

Delphine spent much of the past month indoors recovering from a medical procedure, but thanks to recent spring-like weather, her final days were spent outside enjoying sunshine, fresh air, bird songs, and peaceful resting.

She may be gone, but Delphine will never be forgotten by those who met her.