Texas Treehugger | "All Life Matters" | Text and Photograph by Christy Ilfrey
Immediately I started calling all the local rescue organizations I knew. None in the Coastal Bend are equipped to rehabilitate orphaned opossums. However, they referred me to other entities who might take in all four ‘possums and nurse them along. I called, texted, emailed, sent Facebook messages. I posted a photo of one of the babies on Facebook and made a plea for help. Friends from other parts of the state and country joined my search. Innumerable experienced wildlife “rehabbers” in other locales made contact with me and passed along suggestions. Local friends shared my post. Suddenly I found myself to be the surrogate mother to four very young, very fragile little creatures.
I read articles online written by seasoned rehabbers. In between feedings and “stimulations” and attempts to warm them, I continued my search for experts. Soon I discovered that although I was doing everything I possibly could, what these babies really needed (and what the law mandates) was a certified wildlife rehabilitation specialist. All rehabbers in our area that I located in online searches had passed away, retired or moved on. Nobody could or would help “my” four desperate babies…
Every 2-3 hours I fed them as I was instructed. I set my alarm to wake me in the middle of the night to make sure they were getting proper nutrition and hydration. But by morning the weakest of the four had declined sharply and would no longer feed. "Courage" – because he fought bravely to survive – passed around lunchtime. "Perseverance" passed a couple of hours later. The remaining two babies were active and still taking formula and "potty breaks." But then "Spot," named for the dark patch on his tail, took a nosedive. My heart was breaking: their momma picked my family to care for them and we were failing her. Just when I thought there was no hope, someone who saw my post on Facebook called and offered to pick them up and deliver them to a friend who is a veterinarian in Port Aransas. The doctor agreed to take them on and – according to those who know her – if anyone can save them, she can. As I write this, I am mulling over the news I received a moment ago about "Spot" and "Sunflower," whom our daughter named to represent the sun, the giver of light and life. They, too, have passed.
Today I feel their absence and write this with a heavy heart. Opossums are perhaps the most misunderstood small mammal. Instead of perceiving them as pests or destroying them, we should simply allow these natural “groundskeepers” to do their job: to control insects, venomous snakes and rodents.* I’m sad poor momma died and that she left babies unable to care for themselves. I’m sad for the loss of "Courage," "Perseverance," "Spot" and "Sunflower," and that they were too young and weak to be orphaned. And I’m also sad for the countless other orphaned and/or injured opossums, raccoons, squirrels and other land-dwelling mammals here in the Coastal Bend left without access to proper care. Though my heart grieves, I feel immensely grateful for the experience to learn to love another of our local natives.
*Please read “Making Peace with the ‘Possum” www.dfwwildlife.org/opossum.html
Christy Ilfrey and her husband David own and operate NativeDave.com. Their mission: "To make positive changes in our community by way of sustainable landscape design and consultation services, speaking engagements and writing projects. We strive to educate, entertain and empower audiences to conserve, preserve, restore and celebrate Nature."
Leave a CommentDisqus Method (below): No Login Required. SKIP Password field and click "I'd rather post as a guest." How?
While expressing your opinions through our blog's commenting system, please observe our strict guidelines:
Hateful comments (with or without profanity) will not be published. Solely negative comments that contain no constructive message whatsoever will not be published.
Comments that serve as a promotional addendum for a business or organization (for example: plugs or promotes a special, coupon, service, product or sales event) will not be published, as this is paid information. Exceptions include 'Recommendations Needed' posts. Businesses are asked not to promote their own business through our commenting system.
Comments which contain promotional, time-sensitive information such as event specifics will not be published, as this is paid information. Please see our Submit a Listing page for information on how to submit events.
Please select your words carefully. Once comments have been submitted to the WWN commenting system and/or published, it may not be possible to delete or remove comments.
Comments should be no more than 2,000 characters in length.
It is generally recommended not to name individuals in your comments or isolate them in your pictures in a negative way, who have not given you permission to do so.
Please Comment on the Correct Thread (Post): To help folks find your comment and respond, please be sure you are staying on topic on the correct corresponding post/article. For example, one wouldn't comment about an up and coming election on a help wanted listing. Off topic comments will be removed to avoid confusion.
The WWN does not guarantee that all comments will be archived indefinitely.
The WWN reserves the right to have final discretion regarding the publishing of any and all comments.
(Last Update to Comment Policy: June 20, 2016.)
Currently Trending in the Network
Kevin W. Farrell, 54, passed away suddenly on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Farrell, a self-employed electrical contractor, lived in Rockport fo...
Richard Brady Luton, Jr. passed away April 20, 2017. He was 46 years old. He was born February 7, 1971 in Niagara Falls, New York to Rich...
A Tragic Ending to a Community-Wide Search -- (ALERT: Missing Boater, Kevin Farrell -- Coast Guard Rescue Teams Currently Searching)We are so deeply saddened to learn that Kevin has been found, but has passed away. The details of the last few days are still unclear. He...
ALERT – Phone Outages at Rockport Police Department, Aransas County Sheriff’s Office, Dispatch and County CourthouseUPDATE: May 17, 9:20pm. Phones and power have been restored The administrative phone lines for the Aransas County Sheriff's Off...
Coverage includes the Coastal Bend I don't get a lot of mail these days, and my mail is delivered to a mailbox tree down the street,...
Wirerabbit Studio & Guesthaus | Put Your Family Up at Our Haus, Not Your House! Space For Boat/RV & Pet Friendly!Marsha & Taylor Hendrix (361)463-9894 Book Now from Our Homeaway Page Located in the country but less than 10 minutes from the be...
"I received word Mr. Richard Dominquez of the GI forum, that one of the sponsors who provided funding for our traditional placing of ...