Baby Opossum: SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week

Source: Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

Patient #3201: Baby Opossum

On July 22 Santa Barbara County Animal Services brought a baby opossum to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network. The little one was found orphaned in Santa Maria. The staff did not notice any abnormalities during the opossum’s initial exam –– she’s a healthy baby, and just needs time to grow up before she is ready for life in the wild. 

The baby opossum weighed 52 grams when she first came in. Now, she weighs 74 grams. She will be released when she weighs around 453-500 grams and is healthy in all other respects. 

Opossums come in a variety of colors, but usually have gray, salt-and-pepper fur. Patient #3201 has an unusual dark brown coat, making her stand out from other opossums in care. She is growing up with another patient of a similar size that has light gray fur. 

The Wildlife Care Network has released 30 opossums in the past two months. 9 more opossum patients will be evaluated for release on Sunday. 

Some awesome opossum facts:
– Opossums are hugely beneficial to the ecosystem. They eat thousands of ticks per year. They even catch mice and small rats. 
– Opossums are the only native North American marsupials.
– Due to their low body temperatures, opossums are extremely unlikely to have the rabies virus. 

If you encounter an opossum in need, please call the volunteer-operated Wildlife Care Network Helpline at (805) 681-1080. You can help this baby opossum grow up in care by visiting https://www.sbwcn.org/donate

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