A hairless opossum living at a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Lubbock, Texas, is currently in need of clothes for winter. And as it turns out, the local community is showing a lot of support and solidarity for the little hairless creature.
The executive director of the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Gail Barnes, explained to TODAY that she had initially mistaken then little hairless opossum for a hairless cat after it had been dropped off at their facility.
The vet who examined the opossum diagnosed the critter, who turned out to be a girl, as having the very rare condition of alopecia. This condition is known for causing hair loss. Alopecia is hereditary and it also points to the opossum as living with a compromised immune system.
The little opossum has hair on her head and her paws, but the rest of her body is bare. That causes the opossum to have trouble regulating her body temperature. As a result, she’s quite lucky she was found in time. Another couple of days outside in the 60-degree weather and she could’ve possibly perished.
When brought in, the little opossum had a pretty low body temperature. In order to get her body temperature back up, she was placed inside an incubator. And she is still spending her time in an incubator. However, Barnes has said that the opossum will be getting a new job as part of the center’s education program since she cannot get released back into the wild because of her condition.
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But the little opossum seems to be living her best life so far, so she probably will enjoy the transition. In the short time that she’s been at the center, she’s almost doubled her weight thanks to her access to yummy treats such as crickets, mealworms, cottage cheese, applesauce, and yogurt.
The center is asking for donations of clothes for the opossum. It isn’t just a fashion thing, it’s vital to her wellbeing as it will keep her warm in the winter, and protect her from sunburn in the summer.
And by the look of the Facebook post, the community has really stepped up. people who own hairless cats have been donating items. There are also people who have been knitting the little animal sweaters as well, which is very heartfelt.
The little marsupial can look forward to a career as an educational ambassador. Barnes explained that the center usually sees at least 100 school programs per year. And while they’re not doing classroom visits now because of COVID-19, once things open back up the little opossum will be added to the roster of educational animals – something that will be an important task since she’s a rarity and she’ll really be able to shed a light on marsupials in North America.
But in the meantime, it sounds like she’s living her absolute best life in the wildlife center. And we couldn’t be happier for this cute little opossum.
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