This opossum visits Judy Obregon every day on her porch!
She stopped and thought this baby was dead on the road, then slowly saw her lift her tiny little head! It was if this little angel knew help was there.
Judy is the founder of The Abandoned Ones “Saving Animals in Danger” animal rescue in Fort Worth, Texas, Obregon. She has been rescuing dogs mainly from a known dog-fighting area in her city. She knew what she had to do and sprung into action, as always!
When she approached her she saw a trail of blood leading from a driveway to the animal while a bloody stick lay nearby. She felt she had not been hit by a car and that the opossum was a “she” carrying babies. The opossum kept struggling to lift her head and tried to walk, so Obregon helped gently push the animal to the side of the road to prevent a mishap with a car. Obregon ran to her own car to grab a T-shirt to cover the opossum for warmth.
She got on the phone and started asking for help. She got the DFW Wildlife Coalition, she was given a list of numbers for local wildlife rehabilitators and finally reached Tabatha, who lived within minutes away.
Obregon knew it was most important to find a box and get the opossum safe and warm while waiting for help to keep her alive.
The little girl was so tiny, scared and very fragile.
“I put the box down to see if the opossum would crawl into it,” she said. “I put it in front of her and used my hands to guide her into the box.” The opossum struggled but crawled inside as if she knew she was being rescued, according to Obregon, who then carried the box about a block back to her mother-in-law’s house where she sat in front and waited.
Tabatha arrived about 10 minutes later.
Tabatha is a wildlife rehabilitator who is in her fourth year of helping to rehabilitate a variety of animals, from opossums (the only marsupial in North America) and squirrels, to minks and raccoons. She and her husband Ronnie each have a sub-permit (they work under someone who is permitted) with the state of Texas, whereby they are taught everything necessary to rehabilitate animals from feeding, triage and how to determine if an animal needs veterinary care to nutrition, cage setup and releasing an animal back into the wild. Tabatha is in the process of applying for her own permit.
She verified that the opossum was female and that she did have joeys (or babies) in her pouch. Joeys are born blind, bald and completely defenseless; they weigh about 3 to 4 grams and develop in their mother’s pouch for 60 days. Tabatha covered the opossum, who Obregon named Angel, with a blanket and safely took her home!
“I could tell she was not hit by a car from the blood evidence and what she looked like,” Tabatha said. “I could tell she was struck by something.”
Once she arrived home with Angel, she made sure there were no broken bones or additional serious bleeding. “I could tell on evaluation of her that she was struck, and I’m pretty sure she was shot with a BB gun,” Tabatha said. You could see the BB his and damaged the roof of her mouth and four teeth.
The vet advised her to give her pain medication and fluids and to clean Angels wounds, and to place her in a cage and fed her some vegetables, fruit and chicken. “You can tell her mouth is sore, but she has been eating and drinking on her own.
Fortunately the babies were doing fine!
Opossums oftentimes get a bad rap, but a little education can go a long way.
When scared, opossums will hiss and open their mouths very wide. “If that doesn’t work they can play possum, which is play dead and they actually have glands on their anus that secrete a very stinky, horrible smelling fluid to make them smell dead.” Typically if you leave them alone, they will leave an area, unless there is food.
Tabatha believes she was hurt by humans sadly. “She has not tried to bite me once,” she said. “She knows I am here to help, not to hurt her. I think she has a very good chance.
If you find an injured wild animal, the Humane Society of the United States has information to help. You can also contact your local parks and wildlife organization for information and a list of rehabilitators in your area, or call your local animal control. If you ever bring wildlife to a rehabber, please leave a donation as they are self-funded.
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