Saying Goodbye to Willow the Opossum

On March 15, the Wildlife Center said goodbye to Willow the Virginia Opossum. At nearly three years old, Willow was a geriatric opossum; a natural deterioration in her health led the staff to feel that humanely euthanizing Willow was the kindest choice.

Willow was found as a baby opossum in the summer of 2016 and was kept as an illegal pet. When she was less than a year old, she was relinquished to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, who recognized that Willow was too friendly to be released, despite attempts to help Willow regain some of her “wild” behaviors. She came to the Wildlife Center in the fall of 2017 and joined our team of education ambassadors.

In addition to being too friendly, Willow had chronic sinus issues that remained undiagnosed despite multiple tests and assessments by the Center’s veterinary staff. Willow didn’t seem bothered by the sneezing, and the staff and volunteers grew to love Willow’s little trademarked “sniffles”; the outreach team always carried a handkerchief for Willow during programs in case she had a runny nose.

During her tenure as an ambassador, Willow met more than 5,600 people; her story helped prevent other young, wild opossums from becoming illegal pets. Willow was a valued member of our family, a lover of puréed fruit, and a truly gentle opossum. We will all miss her dearly.