7.27.2010

Appleby and Me Together for a Day

A few days ago I learned a lot about opossums and much about the misunderstanding we humans have about them. As I was running errands around town, I found this little guy sitting on the sidewalk in broad daylight. I am not sure how he got there, but it was not a mystery why he couldn't leave. For some reason, he was not able to walk. He could move his hind legs but was not able to lift his behind up in the air and stand on all fours.

I fed him a plum and then someone else walking by game him an apricot. He loved both fruits and devoured them. Seeing that Animal Control was going to do nothing positive for him, I decided to take responsibility for the little guy. Someone brought over a box to put him in, on the outside of the box it read Appleby, so that is what I named him. After doing some research, I found a rescue center near by that takes in wild animals, rehabilitates them and puts them back into the wild once they are ready to survive on their own.

I also found out about OSUS The Opossum Society of the United States. They are dedicated to the understanding, protection and preservation of the opossum. If you ever find a injured or baby opossum which seems like it might need some help, don't call animal control, because they might euthanize it. Call OSUS first and save it's life! www.opossumsocietyus.org

I only had Appleby for a short while, but during that time I became so found of him. He was so sweet and gentle. After I dropped him off at the shelter, I was very sad and I still miss him, but I know he is in good hands and with people that will care for him properly. Opossums belong in the wild, to be free and happy amongst their own kind.

Opossum Facts

*Opossums lived during the Age of the Dinosaurs...fossil remain have been found from 70 million years ago! This means that the opossum is part of the Earth's oldest surviving mammal family.
*The opossum doesn't have a permanent "nest" because it is nocturnal and transient. It will spend an average of 2-3 days in the same hideout, then move on. Some weeks later it may return to your place, depending on your hospitality.
*Opossums may growl, drool, and show their 50 teeth when frightened, but in reality are placid and prefer to avoid any confrontation.
*Slow-moving with very sensitive hearing and smell, opossums are not territorial and will adapt to any environment where food, water and shelter exist.
*Besides their natural predators in the wild, humans, cars and cats are the demise for this docile creature. Very few survive to adulthood, and usually live only 1-2 years if they do.
*"Playing 'possum" if one of the most effective ways the opossum defends itself. When unable to flee, extreme fear places the opossum into an involuntary coma. They become stiff and their mouth will gape open. This condition will last 40 minutes to 4 hours. Most predators will abandon their attach, one the opossum is thought to be dead.
*Opossums can not jump. An opossum may get into a trash can if it has already been knocked over by another animal, or if it's against a fence and the opossum drops into it, which can trap the opossum in the trash can. Just tip the trash can over and eventually the opossum will scramble away.
*Baby opossums are usually born between the months of February and June.

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