I came downstairs this morning while it was still dark to do my stretches, and let Tigger and Leo out on the screened porch as I usually do. A half hour later it was starting to get light, and I saw that they were staring intently at something on the ground about a foot away from the porch, a gray mass. I went out for a closer look, and it was an apparently dead mother Opossum with three pretty large and alive babies.
What to do? I knew we couldn’t raise the babies, but Ellen would want to try if nothing else was possible. I left them alone for a while just in case the mother was “playing dead,” as possums do, but this was an unlikely place for that, and when I went out for a closer look it was clear the mother was cold and stiff. I’m not particularly fond of possums, but they do us no harm and probably some good eating things like grubs. And, as with most animals, the babies were cute, and I wanted to help them if I could. When Ellen came down she suggested we try to contact Steve Serwatka, a licensed animal rehabilitator in our county. We’d seen him do some animal outreach programs for kids with animals he’s rehabilitated but that are not releasable back into the wild, and he seems like a good person with a heart of gold for animals.
I was able to find his phone number online, and called. I woke him up (sorry, Steve!), but he said he could take the baby possums, and gave me his address and directions. As Ellen said, thank God for people like this! I went out with a box and a towel and put the babies into it. They were a bit squirmy, but not hard to handle. I put the box in the garage on a heating pad, and they burrowed into the blanket. Then I went back out and carried the mother well out into the woods behind the house to let nature take its course.
Ellen just had to pick one up for a minute. After we had breakfast, I drove them over to Steve’s house, about a 15 minute drive, and he was there to take them. He brought me into his animal workroom, filled with cages and equipment. He looked the babies over, said they were in quite good shape, and that they should be fine. I filled out a form, and gave him what I think is a generous donation to help with his work, which I’m sure is always in need of funding. Here’s a link to Steve’s Facebook page, if you’d like to see a bit more, though there isn’t a lot there about his rehab work.
For us, the problem is solved, and we’re very grateful. For Steve, the work is just beginning. Thanks again, Steve!