Greenville, SC Opossum Rescue and Rehab — AKA “The Opossum’s Pouch” — is helping this misunderstood marsupial

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.

Sheri's boy, Opie, is a hit at  opossum rescue training classes.
Sheri’s boy Opie is a hit at opossum rescue training classes

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.

Elisa Taylor

Elisa's articles have helped save thousands of the shelter pets she writes about, along with animal welfare and cruelty case articles which are published on Pictures-of-cats.org as well as her personal website at Nationalcatexaminer.com (National Cat Reporter). Elisa lives with her daughter and a multitude of cats (including one cat­-dog named Cujo). As a writing "addict" Elisa enjoys sharing interesting stories with other animal lovers.

14 comments

  1. Mary Strait says:

    This is a wonderful rescue group and I am happy to be a part of the family of opossum rehabbers and rescuers. Opossums are such wonderful assets to the environment and so important in controlling the deer tick population. As a Chronic Lyme Disease patient, I truely love them.

  2. Kathleen DeBernardi says:

    I think I have possoms in the back of my garage. When I had the garage re-done I told the guys not to cover the hole last year. One of them came out of it a couple of times and had a long fury tail. I did not no what it was until I went on the internet and found pictuers or possoms and some had the long fury tail, A couple of times I saw it go in front of the garage and followed it to the hole. It did not go in and laied half way out of it and watched me for a while. Another time it came up by my back steps and ate some food I had dropped and did not clean up. What kind of food could I leave put for them?

    1. Elisa Taylor says:

      Contact the ladies at the Greenville rescue. They should be able to help. I’ve heard they like bits of apple but I’m not an expert on it.

  3. Pamela Kramer says:

    It’s always a good idea to let backyard animals know the dogs are going outside. I bang on the window of the sliding glass door, crack the door and scream, “Run, run!” They learn pretty quickly to scram. Most do. Rabbits not so much 🙁

  4. Bev Walker says:

    I was fortunate enough several years ago to rescue a baby opossum when his mother was hit by a car. “Pretty Baby” was raised with our two cats who initially thought he was the coolest toy, although they never tried to harm him. He slept with them, ate with them, and yes, even used the litter box with them. He had his own traveling bag and was a huge success at many local schools. He groomed himself just like cats do and would even tried to groom us! He may have been somewhat spoiled because when he was ready to take a nap he would go to his Lain recliner and make a clicking noise until he was placed in the chair and covered with his bankie. Very sweet and loveable animals!

  5. Tonya Buell says:

    I can’t get enough of Opie either. I look everyday for new pics & videos of all your beautiful babies . But that Opie has stolen my heart ❤️ I have learned so much from him & I pass everything on . Thank you for sharing your baby and all the info ❤️

  6. Jan jarvis says:

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful article as it assists in getting the exposure that Greenville Sc Opossum Rescue and Rehab need!!! These ladies mentioned in your article are all wonderful, knowledgeable, tireless,’caring, and relentless rehabbers who give it their all to help these awesome little misrepresented animals!!! We are so very lucky to have them helping, rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing in our area. Spreading the word is imperative to the opossums well being and your article will be a tremendous help in doing just that!!!! Thank you again!!!

  7. Dell Owens says:

    Personally not a huge fan of these little guys but we did call this group one time about an injured opossum in our yard. One of these nice ladies came out and scooped that little baby up and cuddled it. She gave us a brief education on the oppossum. I was impressed with their work and dedication and knowledge.

  8. iluska magalhães says:

    I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,I respect the work of these brave women,and I’ve learned so many things with them ! I also rescue opossums, and made a group about opossums and that help me a lot guiding my group.

  9. Pam says:

    Great job Elisa . We love Connie she has a special girl name maggie that was hurt from my old neighborhood. She is a great rehabber very informative and helpful.

  10. Suzanne Warda says:

    I’m so honored to know these wonderful women! They have spearheaded the move to get the public informed on what amazing creatures these guys are. Thank you ladies! And thank you Elisa for this wonderful article 🙂

  11. Connie Reese says:

    Thank you so very much! I love the article! Thank you for helping bring a positive light to these wonderful creatures!

  12. Sheri Kassalias says:

    Thank you so much for this informative article !! We are all so honored and grateful for the amazing exposure!! Opie said thank you and hopes you two can meet personally one day 🙂

    1. Elisa Taylor says:

      Should I bring treats or would he prefer an ear rub? I look at your Facebook page every day just to see him!

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