Many people have no lost love for opossum. They do, however, have their purpose.
They eat dead animals and those often have diseases.
They don’t contract those diseases; instead, they prevent the spread diseases by cleaning things up.
You are a healthier person because of the opossum.
If you see a baby Opossum without its mother, CALL A REHABILITATOR right away! They are an exception to the rule that 85% of wildlife found are NOT orphaned (unless you have proof of the parent’s death or there is an obvious injury to the animal). Whenever I receive a call about a baby opossum, I know it is orphaned. Why? Because they are the only marsupial (carry babies in a pouch) in North America. Their babies are always with Mom (inside her pouch) until they are at least three months old. Without Mom, they will not survive unless taken to a rehabilitator.
Here are a few facts about the Opossum and what to do if you see one hit by a car.
- Opossum are North America’s only marsupial.
- Opossum are one of the most beneficial animals in the wild.
- They live on other animals that have died, and by doing so, help to keep us and other animals healthy.
- Their immune system is unlike any other animal. They can eat a diseased animal and not get the disease.
- An opossum can deliver as many as 20 babies but the most that will survive will be 13.
- The babies are no larger than a honey bee at birth.
- Once born, the babies will their way to the mother’s pouch located on the underside and attach to a nipple. The nipple will swell to prevent them from losing it. The babies remain on the nipple and in the pouch the first two months of their lives.
- When the babies are first old enough to come out of the pouch they will move back and forth from the pouch to riding on the mother’s back. By the time they are three months old they are usually on their own.
- Opossum have 50 teeth; four sets of teeth are to bite with.
- When threatened, opossum will lie down and play dead, but will stand their ground and fight if cornered.
- Opossum will recover from injuries that would normally kill other animals.
- Ticks are going to be a big problem this year and they eat a lot of ticks.
- They have many enemies and I believe man is their greatest one.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE AN OPOSSUM HIT BY A CAR:
When you see an opossum get hit by a car, please remember it may be a female and she may have a pouch full of babies. If you check for babies and she has babies in the pouch, you need to get a firm hold on the babies and pull until you pull them free of the nipple. DO NOT CUT THE NIPPLE OFF. I had a person do that one time and I spent a couple hours getting the retracted nipple out of the mouths of the babies. Here again, if you have a baby, it must be kept warm, so use the same concept as with squirrels with the box and hot water.
WILDLIFE PROGRAMS AND DISPLAYS
If you would like to see many of these animals up close, please consider booking one of our Wildlife Programs or Displays that are reasonably priced and perfect for Organizations | Schools | Churches | Campgrounds | Nursing Homes | Fundraisers | Displays at Events. All money generated from the programs & displays goes right back into the care of the wildlife.
For more information about our programs, visit our programs page.
Copyright 2017 Fran Kitchen
Operation Orphan Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization and does not receive federal funding. We are supported entirely through private donations, memberships, and proceeds from our education programs. Click here to donate.