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Old 08-24-2012, 08:12 AM   #1
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opossum Big time happy dance!!!

Yesterday.... I'm at work and it was 1 of those days where there just aren't enough hours to deal with everything. It was pretty busy so.... I tossed my work cell at somebody then had all my calls held and turned off my personal cell phone. It was about 2:30 and I wasn't even close to catching up with everybody when a smilin' face pops in my door and says.... you'll want the call I've got on hold. I told her if it was 1 of my kids... they better have a limb hanging by a tendon or else. She laughed and said, "No really.... take the call." Ok... I take the call. I figure with the ear to ear grin she had on her face that nobody's dying but.... I'm thinking it's something that coulda waited so I'm a little bit annoyed and not hiding it well. I'm not recognizing the voice. He's talking very fast and he's apologizing for tracking me down by remembering where I worked but... he's been calling me all day on my cell phone and I haven't been answering and he wants to know if I can take in a momma opossum with 5 babies but.... I'll have to sign for em and he's gonna be in my area at around 3:30 to 4pm. Click... a light goes on in my head.... he's the critter control guy..... OMG.... I've been wanting an opossum ever since I saw mine reduced to a postage stamp thickness on the road a few months ago and he's got a momma AND 5 babies but.... I'm like an hour away. I tell him I'm up in Milwaukee and that I'm on my way and tell him DON'T leave if I'm not there when he gets there because I WILL be there!!! Last thing I heard him say was he'd wait.
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I pull up in my driveway behind his truck and hop out. He pulls 1 of the babies out for me. AWWWWWWWWWWWW.... tell me that isn't 1 of the cutest lil faces you ever did see even if the little guy was scared out of his mind after being trapped.... hauled around in the back of a pick-up.... then yanked out and put on exhibition.
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Big time happy dance!!!-img_0203.jpg   Big time happy dance!!!-img_0204.jpg  
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:16 AM   #2
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The 1st photo is of the whole family after the lil guy was put back in the trap. The 2nd photo is my critter control guy propping the trap open so they'll exit. He was looking up at me talking so I had to turn him into a pie plate face.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:19 AM   #3
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This photo shows some of their cute lil faces not knowing what's going on.... they haven't made the connection that the trap is open and that they're all freeeeeeeee yet.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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Finally they figure it out. Mom starts making her way slowly out of the trap looking all different directions. While she's making her way out.... the babies are all scrambling to get up on her back.... I was laughing so hard I almost had tears coming out of my eyes because she was sinking a little lower to the ground with each and every baby that climbed on her back. And that was the last I saw of her heading toward a natural pond out back.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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As an added bonus.... I took this scrawny little guy that was supposed to go to another release site. I couldn't help myself... I begged for him. The critter control guy laughed when I told him I had the perfect spot to let him go. We let him go inside the composter out my kitchen window. The critter control guy was laughing at my choice of a release site but hey.... I don't care for anything that's too skinny and I knew this handsome little fella would make his way out of the composter soon as we left and I could fill it up with nice 'possum treats to fatten him up because I knew he'd find his way back to my composter in the middle of the night!!!
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So how's that for a GREAT day!!! I went back to work on cloud 9 and did end up staying until like 9pm but.... I went to bed with a big fat smile on my face!!!
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:50 AM   #6
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Sounds like a Win Win Situation; The animal control guy is relieved he found a home for them and you have a Possum family. I'm learning so much here like baby possums riding on Ma's back.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:27 AM   #7
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I'm pretty far away from the capture site so the critter control guy really did me a favor. I was pretty bummed when I saw mine dead on the road and I do know it was mine because of a dark birthmark on her tail so he TOTALLY made my day!!! He drove past at least 50 high quality release sites driving to where I live and gas is pretty expensive these days.
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I lost so many photos of them scrambling to get on her back because of camera shake. The critter control guy would laugh then I'd laugh then he'd laugh louder then I'd laugh louder and it was all just too funny watching that low-rider take off into the brush. I really wish I would've held my composure better because I missed some big time photo ops standing there laughing my fool head off.
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The scrawny little male he let me have had us laughing even louder. He tried dumping him out of the trap but the little guy had his tail wrapped around the wires. I think we both about bust our guts when he tilted the trap down into the composter and the little guy was swinging from the middle of it not letting go. It reminded me of a bell except there was no sound when he hit the sides of the trap. We finally got him to release with the critter control guy holding the trap and me unwinding his tail.
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Just an FYI.... at this age if they fall off their mom.... they'd probably be able to catch up and get back on her. Any smaller than the size of the babies in my photo and we need to intervene because.... momma opossums don't keep track of their babies and they don't go back looking for what ever falls off. In other words.... if you're out and about and spot a baby out in the middle of nowhere.... mom's not coming back for it so you'd have to pick it up by the scruff of the neck and get it to a rehabber.
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:10 PM   #8
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More Nuggets of Knowlege ; Very Nice.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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I'm happy for you...I can tell you are thrilled. When I started reading your post, I thought something was wrong (injury or something), but I see they just needed a place to live.

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Just an FYI.... at this age if they fall off their mom.... they'd probably be able to catch up and get back on her. Any smaller than the size of the babies in my photo and we need to intervene because.... momma opossums don't keep track of their babies and they don't go back looking for what ever falls off. In other words.... if you're out and about and spot a baby out in the middle of nowhere.... mom's not coming back for it so you'd have to pick it up by the scruff of the neck and get it to a rehabber.
I guess I'm learning a lot too...I feel badly now, earlier this spring I spotted a little guy--very cute but on his own. I assumed he was old enough to be off on his own, but now I worry that I should've intervened.

Pictures and video here:
http://nativeplantenthusiast.blogspot.com/2012/06/cute-newcomer.html

Is there any reason why I should assume he could have survived on his own?
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:38 AM   #10
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I'm definitely thrilled!!! I don't know if I'll ever see her again because most don't stay in any 1 place very long but I'm thinking sooner or later she'll make her way back to my place and I'll recognize her because of the tears in her ears.
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Well.... the momma did have an open sore near her left eye. I duck taped a cotton swab to 1 of the kids toy swords from when they were little then waited until I could get the sword in at just the right angle and I dabbed that sore with triple antibiotic. Overall.... her body weight looked really good and her coat was nice and shiny. Her gums looked healthy too... she showed em to us a few times when she was letting us know she wasn't happy about her predicament.
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This article says that at about 7” in length, excluding the tail, they’ve got a chance of making it on their own, Opossums. I’ve been taught that they can make it at about 10 oz which is just a tad bit over 1/2 pound in weight and it looks to me like your little guy was at least that weight based on the dandelion in the photo. If it makes you feel any better…. I woulda left that 1 be. I'm not saying I wouldn't have run off any dogs or cats near it or picked up some road kill and tossed it out for it but.... I definitely would not have grabbed that by the scruff of the neck. It looks old enough to me. The problem with the younger 1s when they drop off too soon is that they don’t have adequate skills to forage on their own since their mother’s been “sharing” with them and they don’t have fully developed musk glands to deter predators and they’re not capable of playing dead because that involuntary response doesn’t kick in until they’re about 4-5 months old. Their vision is really poor and they don’t move all that fast so really all they’ve got to deter a predator at such a young age is their ability to hiss and make all kinds of nasty threatening sounds, their ability to escape by climbing a tree, or their ability to escape by making it down a hole in the ground… if there’s 1 nearby. Here’s a little bit more on babies just in case you see any dead opossums on the road, Opossum.
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BTW.... you'll be seeing celebratory fireworks over in PA from here in IL if this critter control guy ever brings me a star-nosed mole.
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