Greenville, SC Opossum Rescue and Rehab AKA “The Opossum’s Pouch” is a unique rescue, their goal being to save opossum’s, as well as to create a knowledgeable place for people to turn to should they come across an opossum in need.
The rescue was started by Beth Sparks and Connie Reese when they realized there was such a great need in upstate South Carolina for an experienced opossum rescue.
Beth has 21 years experience in rehab, specializing in opossums for 17. She met Connie and they both saw very clearly there was very little knowledge of opossum care. Beth has given many classes in the upstate area and now Connie has taken over several classes a season.
Also involved in the Greenville, SC Opossum Rescue are rehabber Caroline Bell, who did their application for their paperwork, Lea Murray who manages Bayshore Animal Hospital in Tampa and Sheri Kassalias who is a rehabber and also runs a dog rescue. Sheri has transport contacts and has helped get animals to them from all over the state, and rehabber Lisa Lasky, who has started search groups on Facebook to find other opossums in need.
Combined, these women help 600+ orphaned and injured opossum each year, with calls coming in from Canada to Mexico from people asking for help. Some calls received are for orphans whose mom has been hit by a car and killed. If they’re tiny (under 45 grams), they must be tube fed until they’re old enough to lap formula on their own.
One of the most common injuries involves dog attacks. The rescue asks owners who know that they have opossums in their area if they would please walk outside and make some noise before letting their dogs out to potty. Something as simple as clapping your hands and making a little noise is enough to scare the opossums away and could save the life of one of these precious animals.
The public should also understand that opossums don’t carry parvo or distemper. Is it possible for them to carry rabies, but not likely, as their body temperature of between 94°-95° is too low for the virus to live.
The rescue helps people from all over the country who have found an orphaned or injured opossum by networking with rehabbers from all over in order to find help. Responsible opossum care is taught to be sure that people are feeding the proper diet so the opossum can live without the fear of coming down with metabolic bone disease.
Facebook has played a major role in spreading the word on social media. Their page has reached thousands of people, with educational videos that show how to properly pick up an opossum, as well as videos and photos showing a release back into the wild once the opossum is deemed healthy enough.
These rescuers also show their love of the opossum by opening their heart and home to these unusual pets. Sheri and her boy, Opie, are the hit of all the classes (he’s quite the celebrity!) Lea’s gang has also made the media in Tampa and Beth’s boy, Wyman, was featured on Animal Planet in 2008. Connie’s boy was such the hit on Facebook, a man in Florida made and sent her a cart when he became disabled.
The next goal of Greenville, SC Opossum Rescue is to start a sanctuary for any opossums who can’t be released to live out their short lives in peace and comfort. The land has been obtained, and the rest will come now that the rescue has their non-profit status.
Do you participate in opossum rescue? Have one for a pet? Please feel free to share your story in the comments.