September 4- 10, 2023

After an incredibly busy summer with well over 250 animals coming in, it’s time to get back to regular updates. I still have 32 animals but many are ready for release. I will have at least 7 opossums spending the winter with me and you’ll get to know them today!


These three cuties are enjoying enrichment time in the pool.  I fill it with a little bit of water so it makes puddles, then add branches and hiding spots.  They are always nervous at first- it’s a scary experience to suddenly be in water- but getting away from the water encourages them to climb on the branches.  Eventually they learn the water feels nice and will splash in the puddles.  Once they’ve become accustomed to the puddles and branches, they start climbing and testing their new skills.

Meet The Girls and Blossom

Two of them are sisters and they like to stick close to one another.  They don’t have names, I’ve been calling them “The Girls”.  The third came with a name, Blossom.  A well-meaning person who didn’t get the best advice on diet raised Blossom.  Blossom presented with symptoms of metabolic bone disorder.  This is best described as a nutritional deficiency where the body leaches calcium from the bones to balance out the ratio needed in the blood.  Not enough calcium or too much phosphorus can cause this.  She wasn’t able to walk well, her skin was red, and her eyes were a bit bulgy.  I treated her with a three times daily calcium with D3 bolus and a balanced diet, as well as an anti-inflammatory.  MBD hurts!  She’s recovered from it but her growth was a bit stunted, so she will stay with me until spring.


Victoria is a young opossum who came to be after being found dragging herself through the finder’s garage.  They saw her, reached out for help, then went back to find her and she had escaped!  Luckily, she didn’t get far.  She presented with bite wounds as well as the inability to walk.  A visit to the vet and x-rays showed no breaks in her spine or pelvis, both of which could have explained her dragging her hind legs.  The x-rays did show damage to the growth plates in all 4 limbs.  I started treating her with antibiotics for the bites, which were likely made by a cat, pain medication and an anti-inflammatory.  The mysterious damage to her growth plates could explain why she fell off Mom in the first place, but we still don’t understand why she is reluctant to walk.

Unusual physical therapy

In the second photo you can see me tickling her- her legs do work!  They respond to pain and to tickling and wiggle back and forth.  It’s a version of physical therapy, I suppose.  Twice a day we have regular physical therapy.  I stand her up and place a dish of formula at the other end of a towel.  Then I support her weight and help guide her hind feet as she uses her arms to walk towards the delicious smelling milk.  She is improving a little bit every day.

Bunnies (cottontail rabbits)

Bunnies are still coming and going here, it seems like their season never ends!  Three tiny, eyes closed babies came in and 2 well-fed juveniles were released this week.  The tiniest ones have started opening their eyes.

Mourning Doves

I received several calls about Mourning doves this week.  It’s dove hunting season and often they are injured but are able to escape death.  Others had been hit by cars or injured by cats.  A few calls I directed to the University of Georgia’s wildlife emergency department as their injuries were more than I am equipped to handle.  This one, however, had a relatively superficial wound to her side, under her wing.  I cleaned the area well, applied a protective ointment, and started her on antibiotics.  She was then transferred to our friends at Wild Nest Bird Rehab in Decatur where you can see, in the second photo, she has settled in nicely.  A full recovery and release is likely.  I am so thankful for the people who take the time to contain injured wildlife and then seek help and even transport to me.  That’s a lot of care and effort that not everyone would invest.

Juvenile Opossums

19 juvenile opossums are outside waiting to be released.  Although it’s the goal of what I do, it’s never easy.  Will they be safe?  Find enough food and avoid predators?  They spend at least 2 weeks in one of my 5 outside enclosures acclimating to the weather and the sights, sounds and smells of the real world.  I make sure to supply lots of food and enriching toys and experiences to fatten them up and prepare them for when they’re on their own.

Back inside

Four opossums who were ready for release had to be moved back inside because 3 of the 4 presented with tail injuries.  The tips of their tails were sore and raw.  I’m assuming it’s from using them to hold on when they climb the hardware cloth walls of the enclosure.  To remedy this, my wonderful volunteer Sydney and I spent several hours attaching lattice, like you see here, and branches, to the walls they most likely were climbing.

As you can see, they aren’t really minding being inside.  Air conditioning is nice!

Box turtle

The box turtle who was accidentally injured by a lawnmower has healed enough to be released, thanks to the excellent care by Briana Dean, my reptile wizard.  Many thanks to the finder for her caring enough to help the little gal, and willingness to travel and donate towards her care.  She was returned to her home location, as turtles have a rather small range.

Important Box turtle facts!

Their territory is generally around 2 acres.  If moved more than that, they will spend the rest of their lives trying to get back to their home.  This instinct is also why when you move a turtle of any species off the road, move it to the side it was going!  If you put it back where it started, it will attempt to cross the road again.  Please don’t move them any further than to the side they were crossing.  Don’t “relocate” them to an area you think is more suitable.  They will know it’s not their home, and will put themselves in harm’s way trying to get back.

Thanks for reading and catching up on all things animal here at
Primarily ‘Possums!

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September 4- 10, 2023

After an incredibly busy summer with well over 250 animals coming in, it’s time to get back to regular updates. I still have 32 animals but many are ready for release. I will have at least 7 opossums spending the winter with me and you’ll get to know them today! Enrichment These three cuties are

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