For Wildlife Rehabilitators and Veterinarians

A. Common Orphan Care Problems and Solutions

B. Critter Care Waterbator (water-based incubator) Instruction Sheet

C. Opossum Normal Values

D. Opossum Exercise Wheel (How to make)

E. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

F. Crispy Ear

Photos of Crispy Ear

G. Fractured Jaw

H. Cannibalism in the Opossum

I. Black-legged Ticks and opossums
Other hosts actually drive down tick numbers. Disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld and his colleagues at the Cary Institute have found that opossums are disastrous for black-legged ticks. Their immune systems kill off the pathogens that carry Lyme far more effectively than other species’ do, and they carefully groom their skin and devour any ticks they come across. A single opossum may kill 5,000 ticks every week.
See full article from Carl Zimmer’s ‘Rise of the Ticks’, April 13, 2013.

Trail cam captures opossum grooming (possibly ticks) from a deer

G. Grapes are a great way to distract an opossum

As you can see from this video, an opossum can be engrossed in consuming a grape and not care that is atop a Roomba.  We recommend bringing 6 or so room temperature grapes (cold grapes aren’t as aromatic) to an exam with your veterinarian.  Make a small puncture in the grape for ease of snagging with a tooth.  Dole out the grapes one at a time and your veterinarian can use an anal thermometer, check feet and palpate organs with little or no concern from the opossum being examined… until the grapes run out.