Cyndi Russ


Licensed Wildlife Rehabber

Motor City Possum Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to rehabilitating injured and/or orphaned wildlife. While our primary focus is the Virginia Opossum, we intake other small mammals as well. Our goal is the eventual release back into their natural wild environment.

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Possum 101

In the case of an extreme threat such as a predator attack the opossum may fake it’s death or “play possum” They will curl up with eyes and mouth open, teeth exposed & drooling. Poking & shaking will not revive the animals from this catatonic state in which may last for minutes up to several hours.

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At 2 to­ 3 months of age, babies begin to explore outside the pouch and return to nurse. The mother will travel with babies clinging to her back as she forages for food. By 4 months of age babies are typically on their own.

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Baby Opossum

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Gochi Hand

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Opossums do not dig their own dens but will occupy abandoned dens, rock crevices, crawl spaces under houses, attics, hollow trees and other dark hidden spaces

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Opossum are the only marsupial in North America. A female will carry and nurse her young in her pouch for 2-3 months and can give birth to as many as 20 babies, however, only the first 13 to reach a nipple have a chance at survival.

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Opossums have 50 teeth, but they rarely use them in defense as they are not truly aggressive animals.

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Earthworm Drawing

Opossum diet consists of insects, earthworms, snails, grubs, small rodents, birds, snakes and frogs as well as many types of vegetables and fruits.

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Opossums have a prehensile tail which aids in balance and grasping things as in nest building. They do not hang from their tail however.

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Rescue Tips

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Always wear gloves when handling any wild animal to minimize risk of disease/parasitic transmission.

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Babies that are separated from their mother will usually makes sounds like wheezing or sneezing to catch the attention of the mother. Young babies are not able to regulate their body temperature and need to be rescued or they will most likely die from hypothermia and then starvation, dehydration, be hit by a car or eaten by predators.

Possum babies

There are usually 3 cases in which

opossum babies need human help:

  • The mother is found dead; ­babies may be in her pouch, clinging to her or wandering around confused usually within 50’ of the mother.
  • Baby (or babies) fall off of the mother.
  • Mother is injured preventing mobility.
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hot pink spiral arrow oil painting style

If you find an opossum that is 8” or longer (excluding the tail), it is old enough to be on its own.

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Keeping Babies Safe

IT IS CRITICAL THAT BABIES BE WARMED GENTLY. The most immediate way to do this is to wrap them in a cloth and hold them against your body until you can create an artificial source of warmth.

1) Fill a plastic bottle with warm water, seal tightly, wrap a towel around it & lay the baby against it.

2) Put a small piece of fleece in a small box & place the box on top of a heating pad SET ON LOW HEAT.

3) Contact a licensed wildlife rehabber immediately for further instructions.

4) Each hour you wait to find help decreases the odds of survival for the baby. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED unless indicated by a licensed rehabber.

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Ways to Give

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Kroger Community Rewards

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Chewy WishList

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Amazon Wishlist



Ferndale, Michigan

Phone Number

(248) 376-1914

Email Address