Sep 5, 2015

Orphaned opossums rescued

By Deanna Barth

Word has traveled quickly through Hollister that I will drop anything to help animals in need. I’ve become the go-to person in my hometown for that reason, and I’m ok with that. So I wasn’t surprised when I had a message this week from a local resident that simply said “I’ve been told that you can help me with the sick opossums in my backyard.”

I drove ten minutes across town on Wednesday evening and was surprised when the homeowner led me into her backyard. It was a haven for wildlife – completely overgrown like a jungle, offering many places for animals to hide. 

She said she has opossums, skunks and raccoons that frequently cross her yard. There were several fruit trees and it was apparent the opossums were helping themselves to the half-eaten figs on the ground.  

She led me around a corner where there were several trays of water left out and a pet carrier for the young opossums she was concerned about. 

The “Mother” opossum had not been seen for about ten days, according to the homeowner, but it seemed as though the young ones were old enough to survive. She said they appeared to be thriving until recently when she had noticed they were becoming less active.  

I bent down to find two of them huddled together outside the carrier. They were thin, smelled strongly of ammonia and were covered in fleas. 

After further discussion with the resident, I decided it would be best to have all of them examined by a wildlife rehabilitator. This meant we needed to gather up the entire family, and finding them in the dense brush was not going to be easy. It didn’t help that we were losing sunlight. 

We spent a good hour searching for them and only found two more. 

I left with the four opossums, with the plan of keeping them overnight and transporting them to the wildlife center in the morning. 

At 5:30am the following morning, I received another message from the homeowner saying she had two more opossums. I stopped by her house before work to collect them.  

Once at the SPCA for Monterey County wildlife center, the opossums were examined, cleaned, and started on a proper diet.

The following day, Friday, one last straggler was found and taken to the wildlife center.

These opossums are in excellent hands and odds are this family of seven will be returned to the wild soon.


No comments: