Monday, January 26, 2009

What in the world is going on?

Hi everyone....
welcome to my
wildlife blog.
You will see some interesting things here...and I encourage you to share ideas and ask questions. My focus in this blog is to offer the outside world an opportunity to see what I am up to related to my wildlife rehab. It's about "Who showed up", who might be in treatment, and who is ready to be release back to the wild...and the circumstances of each of them.

Today, starts the beginning of my wildlife adventures for 2009. Right now, I have one adult "O" in rehab, who was dog caught. We did not hold much hope for her to make it thru the night...but she's surprised us all. She's an amazing trooper, and with some antibiotics, some rest, good food and a little steroid treatments, she's on the road to recover and hopefully release some time in February. For those of you who don't like "Possums" (ie Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), let me tell you a few reasons on why you need to change your mind;
As a quiet and solitary nocturnal animal (yes they are not a mammal but related to Kangaroos because they are a marsupial), they are about the size of a domestic cat, relatively harmless, fastidious, and prefers to avoid humans. Best of all, they are one of our most economical welcomed environmental ecobalancers. I call them the "twilight janitors", as they keep our neighborhoods clean of rotting debrise, natural waste like road kill (which too often they becoming themselves because they are so slow moving).
Overall, they are considered omnivors and eat a wide range of plants and animals such as fruits, insects, and other small animals. In rehab we need to be careful not to feed them too many sweets (fruits) and not to offer too much protein (domestic animal foods) because they easily develope something called MDB (Metabolic Bone Disease).
Did you know that the "possum" can eat a poisonous snake and not perish? Did you also know they have a great immune system. Frequently you might see them eating along side of their outdoor cats; (note to all of you out there...DON'T create a fall sense of security for wildlife by feeding them -it's not fair to them in the long are not doing them justice overall or feeding them most likely the foods they need to sustain a healthy life style).
They also are NOT a Rabies Vector, so there is no need to fear them. They are definsive not aggressive, and most of the time pass under our porches, and live among us without us even knowing. Their name comes from an Algonquian word 'wapathemwa' meaning "white animal".
Also familiar to most is the term "playing possum", which is used to describe an attempt to pretend to be dead or injured with intent to deceive others for protection. It should not be taken as an indication of docility, for under serious threat, a opossum can respond with hissing, screeching, and showing its 52 spiked sharp teeth. Opossums, like most marsupials, have unusually short life spans for their size and metabolic rate.
The Virginia Opossum (which is what we have here in Georgia) has a maximal life span in the wild sadly of only about two years. To learn more about these WONDERFUL little dudes, you can reference organizations like the National Opossum Society,

or The Opossum Society of the United States, or learn from a rehabber or wildlife educator on these little dudes in person.
If you find an injured opossum or perhapes a baby that has fallen off his mother, please don't try to take care of them without guidance or help. Not only could you harm or kill it, it's against the law. Contact your local natural resources department in your state, or google search for a wildlife rehabber near you. If you are in Georgia, contact the DNR for a rehabber hear you or call the AWARE center and they will help you determine what you need to do next. 678-418-1111

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