My cousin is an animal
lover. And that includes all
animals. Last weekend she and her
husband were heading to the supermarket in Jacksonville, Florida when she
noticed a “dead” opossum lying in the neighborhood road. An hour later they returned and as they drove
past him lying in the road she said, “stop!”
She got out to check on him and saw that he was alive but had a broken
leg. She was so angry and worried since he had been lying there for hours in
the summer heat and no one else seemed concerned. What kind of people are my neighbors, she
As she was examining him a
nearby neighbor came outside and they decided that he needed to be taken to a
sanctuary or rehabilitation facility that specialized in wild animals. She
located a facility that could take him, but it was a two-hour drive. They bundled him up, placed him in her cat
carrier and her neighbor offered to make the trip and dropped him off at the animal
Just an opossum, you might think?! Eww! That thing probably has rabies!
Well, opossums “play” dead
to fool their predators and sometimes drool during this
charade. Because of this, many people fear they are rabid. In fact, opossums are rarely known to contract rabies and
are even less likely to pass it on to other organisms they contact. Their low body temperature (which inhibits virus
growth) and natural anti-poisons they carry (they are immune to snake bites, bee
stings, etc.) is believed to contribute to this ability.
There are many misconceptions about the common opossum. Did you know? The males have bi-fricated (forked) penises. It was once thought that the reason for this physical feature was that they bred with the female's nose. It was thought that once the babies were born, the mother would sneeze the babies into her pouch. This is not true. They (the only native marsupial to North America) breed much like other mammals.
The opossum is a valuable member of the Florida ecosystem and a living creature who was in pain and suffering in the heat. The great news is that he is going to be alright—yay! Many thanks to the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida, my cousin, and her thoughtful neighbor. Kudos gurus!