A month and a half later, the elderly female that I had in my care for a torn up lower jaw from being caught in a trap has finally been released! You can see the blog post about her when I first got her in here. Once I set down the carrier and opened it, she darted right on out, very eager to be free. Only stopping to turn around and give me a defensive growl once she had felt secure in her covering of some pond plants. This girl has been ready to be released for quite a while, but her jaw wasn't. Every night she would try and find a way out of her enclosure, but even though she was ready to go I couldn't let her be free until her jaw had healed much more. But when I went to go check on her jaw a few days ago and flush any remaining food that was stuck in the torn parts (like I do every day so an infection doesn't develop from the left over food stuck in there), they were clean of all food and other debris. And this continued, so I decided it was time for her release. I took her out to the countryside and released her at a nice pond with many fruit orchards surrounding it. So she has her water source and plenty of food until she decides to move on to a new home. I wish her luck out in the world, she is the second oldest opossum that has been in my care, but she is also the most active opossum with the most spunk that I have had in my care. So I believe that she will do great up against other threats out in the wild. I bid you adieu ol' lady, and good luck!
Releases are always so bittersweet. Five more of the juveniles were released out in to the wild tonight. Here you can see two of them under the brush near a ponding basin. Three of their siblings were released as well, one of the females were very fiesty and took off very quickly. These two hung around for a while though, not exactly sure what to do before scampering off towards the water.
I now have only eight more juvenils that are not quite old enough for release in their outdoor enclosures, one adult female that will be released soon, the hit by car adult female that is doing much better, and this little baby female who is growing very quickly! She is such a character too. When she gets too hot in her fleece pouch she will crawl out of it and lay half way out from under the towel that covers her pouch. She always stays tucked in part way though, like having little covers pulled up and over her. She made me smile when I found her sleeping like this, little hand almost covering her eye as if to say "Mom, turn off the lights, it's bright outside!"
Yesterday Andy brought me an adult female opossum that was picked up by animal control officers and I was told that she had possible head trauma. I came to the very likely conclusion that she was hit by a car. She had dried blood on both nostrils but there was still fresh blood coming from her left nostril. Her left eye was partially closed and her left ear was held down. Andy told me that she had been pawing at her left ear like it was bothering her, but luckily I did not see any blood in or around it upon examination. So I gave her some pain medication to help relax her and some flea medication to kill all of the fleas on her and then proceeded to make an ice pack to place on the top of her muzzle and forehead. The purpose of the ice pack is to restrict the size of the blood vessels in hopes to help stop her nose bleed, or at least slow it down. After a few minutes of holding it to her face though, luckily the bleeding had stopped and I was able to clean up the excess dried blood. She slept all throughout the night, resting her sore body instead of walking around as she would have normally done during the night.
Today, she is already doing significantly better. She now has interest in drinking water, although no interest in any food yet. If there is still food in her cage by tomorrow I will have to blend some up to tube feed her so she can get the nutrients she needs to help her body heal. She's been very patient with me throughout yesterday and today. She has no problem with me placing my hand under her jaw to lift up her face so I can see her nose better. I was also able to check her jaw more thoroughly today to see if it had any issues. Opossums are generally very non-confrontational animals which would rather be left alone to live their lives. Although this female is a wild opossum, I believe that she knows that I mean no harm and that I am here to help her until she is better to be back in the wild where she belongs. No matter how calm and tame she may act though, I never forget the fact that she is a wild animal and can still bite me at anytime. This is why I always move slowly and quietly so she does not get spooked. Also, after dealing with so many opossums I am able to better judge how they are feeling and what their reactions are telling me. That way I know when they may feel threatened, scared, or stressed enough to bite me. But as for her injuries, opossums are extremely tough animals and can withstand considerable abuse to their bodies and hers is rather minor. She'll be back to her normal self in no time and ready to be back out in the wild. Hopefully not too close to any vehicles this time.
Got my first Fall baby in this morning! Unlike many other wildlife who just have their babies in the spring time, opossums on average have two litters in a year, sometimes three. Now that all of my late Spring born babies and early Summer born babies are being released and I am getting empty cages again, new babies are going to start coming in to fill up those cages!
Kathy, another volunteer for Critter Creek Wildlife Station, called me last night about two little ones with their eyes still closed that she received and asked if I could come get them today. Unfortunately, one of the siblings didn't make it through the night. They were found on the side of the road with their deceased mother, so it is very likely that the little one could have had some internal injuries. The other sibling is doing well though. This is the little girl in the picture that I picked up earlier when I met up with Kathy, she just got done being fed and is lapping up some of the left over formula that ended up on my finger and her hands. She is very active which is a good sign and is now currently sleeping in a fleece pouch that I made.
So it's been a while since I have posted here. Haven't got any new opossums in for a while and all of the babies are either just about old enough for release or are almost old enough for release.
I did release four of my "babies" tonight though. You can only see three in the picture because the first one to leave the box had already scampered off. I keep opossums in my care longer than their mother would keep them. This allows them to put on some more weight and gives them time to grow larger so that they have a better chance against predators in the wild. I am usually rather picky where I release, being sure that there is definitely a food source (other than the amount of food I leave them), a water source, and nesting material within the area for their first night. I'm always happy to see them leave to begin their lives out in the wild, although I miss every single one of them once release time comes.
Also, check out the opossum brochure I created to print and hand out to all of your friends to help them learn more about opossums and why they are beneficial to having in your neighborhood. You can find it by clicking here or clicking on "Opossum Brochure" under the "All About Opossums" tab under "Wildlife."
HI, I'M AMANDA!
Welcome to my site! Here you will find my personal rehab stories and articles to help you with wildlife around your home. Thanks for joining me! Read more..
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