A rare hairless opossum who was turned in recently by a Good Samaritan concerned about it’s health is now the proud owner of a winter wardrobe after the story of her rescue went viral on social media.
The opossum was turned in to South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lubbock, Texas by someone worried about it’s condition. Gail Barnes, executive director, told the Today show
“When I was bringing the box back in, an arm comes out of the box and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, he dropped off a hairless cat. I opened it up, and it was a possum.”
The opossum, which weighed less than one-third of a pound when rescued in SW Lubbock, is between three and four months old. According to a veterinarian, the tiny girl was diagnosed with the hereditary condition alopecia, meaning she has only has hair on her head and her feet.
Since she cannot regulate her body temperature she will have to remain in a controlled environment for life. The lucky opossum has a good life ahead of her. She was immediately placed in an incubator and current plans are for her to continue to live at the center and be an educational ambassador since she can never live safely in the wild due to the alopecia.
When word got out the opossum would need a winter wardrobe, SPWRD was bombarded with offers for tiny clothes. Barnes told The Today Show
People with hairless cats… they’re donating those clothes. People are knitting sweaters. We’re going to be getting quite a few donations.
Barnes added her favorite foods are crickets and applesauce (along with a diet of steady, healthy diet of mealworms, cottage cheese, and yogurt. An update yesterday on their Facebook page announced she has doubled her weight!
The lucky opossum has a good life ahead of her. She’s in an incubator now but will continue to live at the center and be an educational ambassador since she can never live safely in the wild due to the alopecia.
Barnes explained her value being a mostly hairless opossum
Once we’re able to go back into schools, she will be incorporated into our educational program. Possums are the only marsupial in North America, and with her not having fur, you’ll be able to see her pouch in the front, which educates people about marsupials.
Hopefully, the wee rescue will be given a name soon. Those following her on Facebook (South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center) are suggesting a calendar be made modeling the new wardrobe (it would sell!) and the gifts will most likely keep on coming, especially during the holidays.
People are more acceptive of opossums now that word has gotten out how much they benefit the environment by eating harmful insects like ticks They will also catch and eat cockroaches, rats and mice – in addition to consuming dead animals of all types.
Thanks go out not only to those sending donations but to the man who immediately brought her to the center. Although the night temperatures were at 58-60 degrees Fahrenheit, being hairless means she likely wouldn’t have survived another few nights.