Sick opossum may have been illegally kept, Richmond Wildlife Center says

Sick opossum may have been illegally kept, Richmond Wildlife Center says
The Richmond Wildlife Center says a young opossum that was very lethargic walked right up to a property owner on Tuesday. (Source: Richmond Wildlife Center - Facebook)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Wildlife Center is working to get an opossum that was found back to health.

The Richmond Wildlife Center says a young opossum that was very lethargic walked right up to a property owner on Tuesday.

After admitting the opossum, officials noticed that the animal was abnormally clean for a “wild” opossum.

“No fleas, flea dirt, ticks, dirt under its nails or on its tail or feet. His teeth were very clean, no abrasions that are usually found from living in the outdoors or scars. There was an odor to his fur which we all disagreed upon. Some thinking it was Hartz Shampoo or something similar, some thinking it was cedar or pine chips as if it had been living in a contained area, another thinking it was an over the counter flea medication,” the center posted on Facebook.

The opossum was very tame, weak, had poor grip and dumbo presentation of its ears, which is an indicator of metabolic bone disease. The disease most commonly happens to opossums kept in captivity and improper diet.

“At this time we suspect this opossum may have been illegally kept and raised by an inexperienced and non-permitted person,” the center said on Facebook.

The wildlife center will continue to work on its nutrition.

“We will also be assessing whether or not we will be able to wild him up and if he knows how to forage for natural foods. His grip will also need to return to normal in order to survive in the wild,” the center said.

The opossum will be at the center for several weeks while caregivers work to correct the opossum’s calcium deficits.

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