Lending a Hand - Juvenile Opossum

juvenile opossum in Puriscal

A short afternoon rain burst finished. Spencer was in front of the house giving barks of excitement as he stared down the walkway. I checked on him several times and searched for what captured his attention, but I didn’t find anything.

When walk time arrived Spencer led John directly to the outside the laundry room. There next to my rubber boots was a small, barely juvenile opossum. John took Spencer away. The little guy was “playing opossum”, mouth open, and eventually he laid on his side. I went inside the house for a quick internet search about the situation. The web told me if he was separated from his mom, she wasn’t going to look for him.

Mom and juvenile opossum in Puriscal

This is the time of year young animals are evicted from the den and I think that is what happened with this little opossum. I think the place he chose to overnight was flooded from the rain burst and he was forced to look for a new place even though the sun was still up. Unfortunately, this location was sure to get Kitty’s attention and if the little one walked the wrong direction he would end up in Spencer’s mouth. So, I decided to relocate him to the hollowed out log in Baby’s old cage.

I grabbed the leather gloves I used in the past to handle Baby, the porcupine, an empty laundry basket, an old t-shirt and a banana. I gently picked him up. He was so rigid, doing his possum thing. Once in the basket he found the banana and began licking it. I think I won him over with the banana, he didn’t seem scared of me any more. Then he noticed the laundry basket had holes in it and crawled through one so he could escape. I held my gloved hand outside the hole and he crawled on. I carried him that way over to the barn. I got the feeling this reminded him of riding on his mother’s body.

juvenile opossum in Puriscal

Both cats were in the barn when I arrived and I had to shew them away so I could get inside the cage with the opossum. I gently placed him inside the log and he retreated to the darkness. By this time it was dusk. I communicated the best I could to the cats to leave the opossum alone. They seemed to understand and followed me out of the barn.

The next morning I woke up before sunrise and put on a red light headlamp to check on the opossum. I surveyed the cage and didn’t see any activity. I scanned the area outside the cage and saw two red eyes looking back at me. I was happy to see he discovered the branch leading to the hole to get out of the cage and he was exploring the area.  I could see he wanted to go back inside the cage for one more day’s sleep. Around dusk that evening I went inside the cage to remove the old banana, replace the water dish and leave some tiny pieces of chicken breast. As I was doing this I saw him watching me from inside the log, he looked calm and curious and was very cute!

I set up the trap camera that evening and it took one video that caught only his tail as he left the cage for good. I hope he finds a better place to sleep, and lives a good life.

I didn't take any photos this time. The photos above are stills from old trap camera videos. Here is the link to a video the trail camera took a few years ago.