Mother Possum Found Dead on the Road, Her Body Protecting 9 Tiny Babies

September 16, 2019 Updated: September 19, 2019

They found the mother lying on the road in an upscale neighborhood in Los Angeles. Eldad Hagar, founder of Hope For Paws animal rescue, showed up at the scene to offer what assistance they could. It looked as though they might already be too late.

Upon pulling over in their vehicle, Hagar and fellow volunteer Loretta Frankonyte got out and walked over. It was a family of possums; there were several tiny tails and feet protruding from under the mom’s abdomen. She was deathly still.

©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel

“She’s definitely dead,” said Hagar as he shifted her with his hand. The mother possum’s body was stiff with rigor mortis.

As they lifted her onto a blanket, they spotted movement from underneath; the babies in her pouch were still alive, and they weren’t newborns. “Good, they’re older,” Hagar observed. That would mean that, hopefully, they could be saved. That was the pair’s goal.

The mother’s body had lain over her babies protectively, giving them shelter from the sun. Hagar and Frankonyte didn’t separate them but lifted them together undisturbed onto a blanket and stowed them in their Toyota SUV for the trip to El Segundo Animal Hospital.

©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel
©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel

When they arrived, a vet got to take a closer look at the surviving babies under the mom. He lifted up the flap of her pouch to reveal a whole litter of tiny joeys, wet and squirming about, possibly searching for milk. “Holy moly, look how many,” said Hagar.

“Wow!” the vet exclaimed. “One, two, three, four […]” The vet counted nine joeys in all.

The tiny marsupials would require warmth and food, the vet said. Their mother would no longer provide these. Therefore, the hospital would have to continue nursing them until they were big enough to be released back into their habitat.

With help from PAL Rescue and Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center, the possums were nursed in the absence of their mom, and Hagar came back to check up on them two weeks later. Sadly, only six out of the nine had survived—the litter had been suckling off their dead mom, which can be toxic, and their age and weight were still so premature, making survival a dicey thing.

©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel
©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel

“If they’ve been on Mom for too long of an amount of time, the milk becomes sour, and it becomes toxic, creating liver damage,” wildlife manager Lisa Peronne told the pair from Hope for Paws. “So, these guys are actually doing extremely well.”

“I wish we knew this,” said Hagar, who would have preferred that they had all survived. “Obviously, we would have disconnected them from the mom sooner.”

The six surviving siblings remained at the hospital for two months more until it was finally time to release them back into the wild. Hagar and Frankonyte returned for the momentous occasion and saw how big they had gotten. It was heartening to see.

©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel

Good morning guys, hope you all had a wonderful weekend. So many people have commented that this is the best rescue video Hope For Paws has ever done and I totally agree with that: https://www.hopeforpaws.org/how_a_mother_s_love_kept_her_babies_safeso I wanted to make sure you didn't miss it. This is so close to my heart and so incredibly special to me, and I really hope you'll take the time to watch this video to the very end and will fall in love with these incredible and cute little creatures. I also wrote my very first blog because I really felt that I needed to explain how important these animals are to us personally and for our ecosystem. A massive thank you goes to our incredible rescue partners and wildlife experts Freddy Kelly and Heather Provence from PAL Rescue who volunteered to tube feed them until they were taken to the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center where a team of selfless and compassionate people have given these babies a new chance at life. My most heartfelt thank you goes to Eldad, you have a heart like no other and I am so honored to be rescuing and sharing my life with you. As always I am so grateful to each and every one of you for your support. None of these rescue would be happening without you so I dedicate the most special rescue story to you guys. Please let me know what you think.With love, Loreta

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Loreta‎‏ في الاثنين، ٩ سبتمبر ٢٠١٩

Four of the joeys were ready to return to the wild. Two of the possums were still too small to be released and so would be kept for a while longer until they grew a little larger.

The four that were deemed mature enough were then taken and released into a woodland habitat where food and water is plentiful, and they immediately began to acquaint themselves to their new surroundings and exploring. It was a very special moment for the Hope for Paws rescuers.

During the special occasion, Frankonyte scattered the ashes of the mother, whom they had cremated, at the scene so that she would protect them in spirit, as she had once done with her own lifeless body so many months ago.

©YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel

Watch this incredible possum rescue unfold, courtesy of Hope for Paws:

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