Target: Sherry L. Schlueter, Executive Director, South Florida Wildlife Center
Goal: Praise the rescue of an injured mother opossum and her babies
Opossums are commonly thought of throughout the United States as a pest, like raccoons. They are highly opportunistic and will eat almost anything, including someone’s trash. They have a tendency to either play dead, called “playing possum,” or hiss, revealing many pointed teeth, when scared. With their bald tail and pointed face, many people find them gross and some even aim to kill them with their vehicles as they cross the road. For this reason, many opossums lose their lives to car related fatalities and many people will not stop to check to see if an opossum is okay due to their reputation as “dirty” and “vicious” animals.
When a local citizen brought in a mother opossum and her babies to the South Florida Wildlife Center, the mother was suffering from abrasions on her feet and was dehydrated and weak. The center employees worked hard to make the mother comfortable. She was rushed to the center’s Intensive Care Unit where she received antibiotics and her babies, who were filthy, received baths and were placed under an incubator to keep them warm while mom rested.
After a few days, the family was doing well and was moved to the center’s Wildlife Ward. After a few weeks, they were doing so well they could be moved to an outdoor habitat. The center veterinarians kept a close watch on the family and reported that “Mom has improved tremendously… babies are plump and doing well.” After about a month at the center, the family was able to be re-released into the wild.
Commend the South Florida Wildlife Center for taking such good care of these misunderstood marsupials, and the concerned citizen for bringing them in. Many people would have ignored the mother opossum’s plight and things could have gone much differently for her and her babies.
Dear Ms. Schlueter,
Thank you for taking such good care of the opossum family recently. Many people would not consider an opossum family to be worth working hard to save, but you made sure that the animals got the best care they could.
Organizations like yours help people to realize that opossums are not trash; they are animals worth saving, just like other wildlife. Thank you for doing such good work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cody Pope via Wikimedia Commons