A Resilient Mother Opossum

A Virginia opossum mom arrived at the Schuylkill Center Wildlife Clinic a few weeks ago after a caring rescuer found her injured in her backyard. Our rehabilitators discovered a large wound on her hip along with severe damage to her toes. The team also noticed that she was carrying a pouch full of babies estimated to be four weeks old. Thankfully, the babies were unharmed and their mother continued to nurse them as the rehabilitators patched up her injuries. 

This patient could not undergo a “normal” surgery to close up her wounds. Baby opossums stay latched in their mother’s pouch for at least six weeks until they can safely venture out, and at their current age, these babies were not independent enough to leave the pouch for the procedure. If the opossum were put under full sedation, she could risk losing her babies. 

For cases that involve surgeries, we look for help from Radnor Veterinary Hospital, which provides us with veterinary services pro bono. Fortunately, their team of vets had a plan for this mother opossum: they applied local anesthesia to the afflicted area so that she could undergo the surgery painlessly.

It has been over a week since the patient was sutured up and she is healing well. We have been giving her excellent care at the clinic as well as a quiet place to recover while she continues to care for her young. We expect to release the family back into the wild once treatment is complete. This opossum has impressed us with her tenacity and strength and by how much she has endured to keep her babies alive.

By Sydney Glisan, Assistant Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation

2 thoughts on “A Resilient Mother Opossum

  1. Thank you Schuylkill Wildlife Center and
    Radnor Vet for helping this Mama and her babies!

  2. What a wonderful narrative, and outcome for mother opossum + children – thank you to the SWC for the work that you do; and special thanks to the Radnor Veterinary Hospital for donating time and services to rehab. injured wildlife! Very uplifting and inspiring.

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