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Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

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Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

Old 03-29-2007, 09:14 PM
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Default Baby Season -- Please drive carefully



Switcheroo tricks opossum mother into taking orphans as own
By SCOTT HARPER, The Virginian-Pilot
© March 28, 2007
Last updated: 10:47 AM


VIRGINIA BEACH - This opossum was not playing dead.

She had been hit by a car. But her four babies were left unharmed, warm and very much alive, tucked inside her marsupial pouch.

Enter two local veterinarians and a wildlife rehabilitator - and some medical ingenuity.

Evelyn Flengas, who runs Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach, already had one mother opossum on the mend at her backyard sanctuary. So when she heard about the dead mom, she suggested a switcheroo.

It worked - much to the delight of everyone involved in this tale of possum parenting.

The Opossum Society of the United States was excited, too, describing the rescue as unusual in both its method and success, Flengas said.

"They told me they'd heard of surrogate mothers taking over babies before," Flengas said, "but not like this."

On Friday, at Bostic Animal Hospital in Virginia Beach, the new mother was put to sleep with a small dose of anesthetic. When she awoke, she found the four orphans stuffed inside her pouch - and took to them like her own.

The mother's other 11 babies, called joeys, were big enough by then to leave the pouch. Flengas had moved them to a furry hand-warmer she keeps in her kitchen for occasions like these.

On Monday, the youngsters emerged from the furry pocket after an afternoon nap, just in time for a feeding of milk formula. They chugged the whole thing.

Flengas also lets these joeys cling to her hair and neck, as if she, too, were something of a surrogate mom.

When the joeys are playing on her head, "I look like Medusa," Flengas said with a chuckle.

"I had someone come to the door the other day, and I nearly scared them to death when I answered," she added with another chuckle.

Most people associate opossums with rats and rabies. True, they look like rodents, especially the pink bald tail. But opossums are marsupials, kin to kangaroos and koalas. Hence, the pouch.

Opossums can contract rabies, but they are important to a balanced ecosystem - and to their human neighbors - in controlling rodent populations.

"Without opossums, guess what moves in?" asked Flengas. "Yep, rats and mice. But most people don't know that."

The four orphans are remaining with their new mother. They are living in a dark, blanket-lined crate inside Flengas' garage, suckling from their foster mom.

On Monday, one of these survivors emerged from the pouch, shuddered at all the humans standing around, and tried to crawl into its mother's panting mouth.

Mom licked its head and nosed the little one back to the pouch. It clumsily obliged.

Over the weekend, Flengas gave six of the mother's original joeys to a colleague from the Eastern Shore.

The youngsters will be released there in the weeks ahead.

The other five joeys in the first litter will be set free at an agreed-to site in Virginia Beach when they are old enough, probably in a few weeks.

The four orphans will remain with Flengas and her husband, Jim, for several weeks after that, before they, too, are released into the wild.


Reach Scott Harper at (757) 446-2340 or scott.harper@pilotonline.com.


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Old 03-29-2007, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

I never saw a baby possum before, but I thought you used to brake for them instead of bein wild about 'em!

Maybe you should change your signature line to, "Wild about braking for possums".

You ever get any possums on the half shell where you hang your hat these daze?
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

No, I do not see any armadillos around here.
I brake for opossums.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

SurferGirl - 3/29/2007 11:18 PM

I brake for opossums.
I always thought they were supposed to yield???
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:22 PM
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SurferGirl - 3/29/2007 11:18 PM

No, I do not see any armadillos around here.
I brake for opossums.
Are opossums irish possums?
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:34 PM
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TN FREEBIRD - 3/29/2007 10:22 PM

Are opossums irish possums?
I suppose they could be Irish. I think most of them are Native American.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:36 PM
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trapit - 3/29/2007 10:21 PM

SurferGirl - 3/29/2007 11:18 PM

I brake for opossums.
I always thought they were supposed to yield???
Pfffffffft!
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

SurferGirl - 3/29/2007 11:36 PM

trapit - 3/29/2007 10:21 PM

SurferGirl - 3/29/2007 11:18 PM

I brake for opossums.
I always thought they were supposed to yield???
Pfffffffft!


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Old 03-29-2007, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

SurferGirl - 3/29/2007 11:34 PM

TN FREEBIRD - 3/29/2007 10:22 PM

Are opossums irish possums?
I suppose they could be Irish. I think most of them are Native American.
I reckon there's no possum like an opossum huh?
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

I always thought opossums were born dead by the side of the road?
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:42 AM
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SirOsis of the River - 3/30/2007 12:10 AM

I always thought opossums were born dead by the side of the road?
Pfffffffffffffft!

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Old 03-30-2007, 01:52 AM
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SurferGirl - 3/30/2007 1:42 AM

SirOsis of the River - 3/30/2007 12:10 AM

I always thought opossums were born dead by the side of the road?
Pfffffffffffffft!

That looks like a rat on your computer
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Old 03-30-2007, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

trapit - 3/30/2007 12:52 AM

SurferGirl - 3/30/2007 1:42 AM

SirOsis of the River - 3/30/2007 12:10 AM

I always thought opossums were born dead by the side of the road?
Pfffffffffffffft!

That looks like a rat on your computer
Pffffffffffffffffft!

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Old 03-30-2007, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

SG, you rock.
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Old 03-30-2007, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

trapit - 3/30/2007 1:52 AM

SurferGirl - 3/30/2007 1:42 AM

SirOsis of the River - 3/30/2007 12:10 AM

I always thought opossums were born dead by the side of the road?
Pfffffffffffffft!

That looks like a rat on your computer


Its funny how something that cute can grow up to taste like under cooked chicken
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Old 03-30-2007, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: Baby Season -- Please drive carefully

SurferGirl - 3/30/2007 2:10 AM

trapit - 3/30/2007 12:52 AM

SurferGirl - 3/30/2007 1:42 AM

SirOsis of the River - 3/30/2007 12:10 AM

I always thought opossums were born dead by the side of the road?
Pfffffffffffffft!

That looks like a rat on your computer
Pffffffffffffffffft!


Its...its its smiling at me.
Name that movie quote.
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:19 PM
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"Debbi Does Dallas"...........what'd I win??
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Old 03-30-2007, 06:29 PM
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katkt - 3/30/2007 2:19 PM

"Debbi Does Dallas"...........what'd I win??


Thanks Gordon!!

I just blew coffee all over my keyboard

Cheers... Tyee .
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:03 PM
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JAWS

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Old 03-30-2007, 08:06 PM
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Cristmas story!!!!!!!??????
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