“A tale of hope and survival” By Rita Rendon
On Friday, May 25, Toni O’Neil from Possumwood Acres called me to ask if I would dedicate the time to care for a young opossum that had been rushed to the sanctuary that day. Apparently, the small thing had been hit by a car, suffering massive head trauma and horrific eye injuries.
The prognosis wasn’t good. The opossum needed intensive care and was given a poor survival rating. However, during examination, Ms. O’Neil discovered the opossum had at least three babies in her pouch!
A ray of hope flickered inside me. It became clear to me what my job would be. I had to try to save this little family! When I took them home, I fed the mother some formula as she was extremely malnourished. For the next 24 hours, I fed her every two hours until her lifeless body slowly began showing signs of a will to live. By the following day, the little mother gained just enough strength to lift her head and drink her formula.
By the second day, the mother was sitting up. On the third day, I began hand-feeding her bananas, soft apples, and diced grapes. On the fourth day, the mother allowed me to give her a sponge bath, and I knew she probably felt so much better to be cleaned. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that she loved to be brushed.
The opossum was ready to have fish added to her diet. I was still hand-feeding her and she was eating complete meals at this point. By the fifth day, she began to meander and developed a huge appetite. In fact, she was like a little pig; she could hardly wait for feeding time!
Her right eye was clearing up and appeared to be healing well; however, her left eye will need to be removed due to the damage it sustained. In the meantime, I continued to coat her damaged eye with Vaseline to keep it moist and protected.
Finally, I was able to look into the mother’s pouch and discovered not three, but eight babies! All of them were alive and wiggling! You can imagine my joy as I stared with love at these miracle babies. I believe that even opossums have Guardian Angels.