(February 2020 - June 2022)
Elmer was leucisitc. Leucism is a genetic condition in which the animal lacks pigmentation, resulting in this white fur. Elmer was one of 9 babies we rescued in the summer of 2020. These were “mama opossum’s” (our summer patient) joeys. Because mama opossum was so severely injured, the babies’ best chance at survival was to remain in our care until they were weaned, a healthy size, and prepared for the wild. As we continued to raise them, we began to notice one of the leucistic opossum babies wasn’t active, gaining weight, and was picked on by his siblings. We separated the baby from the others and focused on his health. During his rehabilitation he had trouble weaning from formula to solids, was underweight, and had no healthy fear of humans. The other 8 siblings were very aggressive, afraid of us, which is exactly what we want to see before release into the wild. There were 4 leucistic opossums in Elmer’s litter. Elmer’s other siblings reached a healthy size, learned to eat solids, and practiced instinctive behaviors needed to survive in the wild. Once ready, we brought them to a facility with pre-release enclosures to reacclimate to the outdoors and prepare for release. All 8 babies were released back into the wild. Elmer however, still struggled with growth, eating, and a natural fear of humans, even with a hands-off approach. There were two options if Elmer could not be released; euthanasia or placement with a licensed and State permitted individual were his options. We welcomed Elmer as a permanent part of our passel of opossums to be an opossum ambassador with our rescue group.
Elmer lived a happy and spoiled life. Everything about Elmer was unique, from his coloring, to his silly personality, Sadly, Elmer developed a rare form of cancer and passed away from complications due to it’s aggressive nature. We would have loved more time with our sweet boy, but we cherish every moment we were given with him.