Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wild Kingdom

I was taking a walk through the alleys of another neighborhood after breakfast and saw something squirming a little ways off. As I approached, I thought it was a rat or a mouse but then saw it was a baby opossum with flies buzzing about. He was alive but badly wounded and as I watched, realized that he had considerable strength.

A couple of weeks ago I moved a large pregnant opossum that had been hit by a car in front of the next door neighbor's house. This time of year I usually spot a mother opossum tottering around the yard near dawn with scads of babies hanging on her back. Last night, I thought of how I'd miss that this year.

Trusting my instincts and figuring it was worth a try, I picked up the baby opossum, placed him in an abandoned drawer by a nearby trash can, carried him back to the car and drove him home.

I spent most of the afternoon soaking and cleaning his wounds and removing all the nasty fly eggs I could find. It looked as though he'd been picked up then dropped by a hawk and had been laying in the alley just long enough for the flies to find him (they work quickly!).

He was a very good patient (or good at playing possum) and turned himself over so that I could clean the wounds on both sides. Then I treated the wounds with no-hurt antibacterial foam and called a wildlife rehabilitator about diet.

I fixed up one of the cat carriers with some newspaper and a clean towel, put a heating pad on low underneath, some various food with water and am letting him rest to see what happens.

If he makes it overnight, chances are good that he'll survive. If he survives, then I'll have to keep him confined till his wounds heal and the skin grows a new coat of fur. Then he can go native again. I have a great yard for opossums with good hiding and nesting spots and plenty of food. I'll keep you posted.

This isn't the first wild guest I've hosted.

See today's post of my back yard wild kingdom at Landscape into Art.

My songs and CDs


Mineke Reinders said...

Bless you, Suzanne, for rescuing this poor little creature! I hope he has the strength to pull through, you've certainly done a good job of cleaning his wounds. Good luck, I'll send up a little prayer for his recovery :)

Suzanne said...

Thanks, Mineke.

After my workshop today, I found him sort of weak and dehydrated so cleaned out the wounds again and put triple antibiotic ointment on then gently forced some water and watered-down chicken and rice cat food. Left him with some baby food organic carrot and pieces of apple. Found him later with an orange snout so maybe I've found some food he likes. It's touch and go so we'll see what happens. Thanks for the little prayer! He needs it!