Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lucky 13

Did you know......that baby opossums are called joey's?
And did you know that a mother can have up to 25 or more babies but only 13 will survive since she's only got 13 little facets at the watering hole? That's right. I guess that's natures way of keeping things in balance. Here is a pouch of exactly 13 babies that came in with their dead mother (car incident) a few nights ago. These are not extremely young babies (about 5 weeks), but they are still VERY small and need to be fed via a tube. Baby opossums don't suckle like other animals, the swallow the nipple and the mother decides when and how much milk to pump into their little bellies. Rehabbing very small possums can be VERY challenging. Simulating this feeding is one thing, but so is simulating the pouch and the balance of Oxygen and Carbon Minoxide and moisture. You see their environment is so damp and specialized, as is their breathing requirements, there is a point in time when babies which are too small don't have a good likelyhood to rehab without suffering at the hand of a well meaning rehabber. Meaning, the chance of aspiration and pneumonia with constant 2 hour feeding intervals is probable. When someone that does not know what they are doing tries, the outcome is ususally not good. This is why in most all cases I URGE the public to contact a licenced and skilled rehabber to handle these little Jack's and Jills.

These guys are going to the wildlife center....as I am traveling and have to find a baby sitter. We will see how they do the first few days...and if they are taking well to tube feeding without getting pneumonia...then we will keep things moving forward.

I love "possums"!!!!!!!!!!!