Forest Babies Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
~
Wildlife Rehab in Action ~

For the care of sick, injured or orphaned native Florida wildlife and release back to the wild.


The Goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to provide professional care to sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals so they can ultimately

be returned to their natural habitat. Animals are held in captivity only until they can live independently in the wild.
 

 


The pictures on this website are a sampling of the animals cared for over the years.
 

  Mum and Babies in Her Pouch.  

 


Mum's nose was crusted over with dried blood
and her nostrils were packed with soil.

Her nose was cleaned with warm water and q-tips.
 

This is "Mum" a beautiful female Opossum that may have been hit by a car. She was found lying on a lawn Saturday morning. The homeowner contacted us. This girl has a full pouch of baby Opossums!  Read why Mum was so very, very special to me Have a tissue box handy.

 




Here you can see the wiggly babies in the pouch. Their tiny heads are tucked inside the pouch skin where each baby is attached to a nipple. Notice Mum's eye. Must be an old injury-the eyeball has crystallized.

Here you can see teeny feet and tails of two babies.

The entire pale fur on Mum's belly is the pouch. Some babies are visible but others are deeper in the pouch.
Sometimes they can be seen wiggling under Mum's skin.

 

 

 

 

 

Notice Mum's left front foot.
The toes are curled. She has an injury to her
shoulder and her entire leg has been effected.

Mum did not eat from the bowl but I was hoping she would.

 







Mum was syringe fed and has some food on her mouth.



See how the pouch hangs and has fullness.
The opening is easy to see and so is a pink tail!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum and the babies made it through the first two nights. She is not eating on her own but is syringe fed pureed food. She is also receiving IV fluid subcutaneously, (under her skin.)

Today is Monday. Checking on the babies while Mum is asleep.

 

Mum looks like she is holding her nose over her dinner bowl. "You're feeding me that!?"

Sleeping through fluid therapy.

View of babies Tuesday eve. This picture offers an excellent look at the opposable thumb Opossums have on their rear feet.

 

Wednesday. Mum has an excellent appetite.
We have found a way to work together
during feeding time that is less stressful for both of us.

 


 

This pictures clearly shows  Mum's misaligned jaw.
Her appointment for x-rays is tomorrow, Thursday.
You can see a baby at the pouch door!

 

 No pictures from Thursday.

 

She is not eating from a bowl yet but is accepting food from my hand. Yes it is messy.
She is rooting around my  palm and picking up pieces of softened cat food.
Also Mum is licking the pureed food.
 

Friday: You can see the babies between Mum's paws. Today Mum groomed her front legs and one back foot.

The x-ray revealed an obvious jaw fracture. The veterinarians are deciding the best course of action for Mum.

The fracture is a bad one. Mum has been referred to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.
We are waiting for a call to set up an appointment.

 

One baby and Mum in the exact sleeping pose.

 


 


 

Saturday, one week since her accident, Mum is doing well.
Her appetite is excellent. She cleaned her babies for the first time today.

April 7, 2006 Tomorrow will be two weeks since the accident. Mum can eat independently!
The babies have fur on them and once in a while a baby will peak out of the pouch. Their eyes are just starting to open.

April 15, 2006 three weeks since the accident. The babies come out of the pouch now and most have their eyes opened. They can walk well. Mum is now walking around using her left front leg although she is dragging her paw some.
 



This is what the inside of the pouch looks like.
The skin is moist. The babies have wet fur.
The day after this picture was taken the
fur was becoming fluffier as it dried.

 

About Opossums . . .

Inside the opossum's pouch is moist. Also, the mom spends a lot of time licking the babies to keep them clean and moist. As the babies get older, and spend less time on the nipple, their fur dries out. Also, let them know opossums are marsupials. The embryo emerges from the opossum's vagina  and basically has two tiny hands that are capable of grabbing the mom's fur as they make their way into her pouch. The mom licks her fur to make a path for the embryos to follow. Once inside the pouch, the baby basically swallows a nipple and continues to grow. She has 13 nipples.
 
If a person finds an injured or dead opossum and tries to remove the babies from her pouch, it is almost impossible to get the babies to let go of the nipple as it is far down their throat. When a rehabber gets baby opossums, we tube-feed them. That means we take a small feeding tube and actually go through their mouth into their stomach and slowly inject the milk, then pull the tube out. These babies don't suckle like a baby raccoon or rabbit.
 
Something else interesting, the babies mouths are sealed shut. Only a tiny hole is opened at the very front of their mouth where the nipple is. As they baby gets older, the lips unseal and the baby can let go of the nipple. It is funny to get a group of babies and some will have more of their mouths opened then others. One sad thing, if the babies are so young that only a tiny portion is opened, it is virtually impossible to feed them.
 
Also, opossums are very timid animals. Their wide opened toothy mouth is all for show. When they are frightened they really do "play opossum". They will lay down on their side and look flat and dead. They will let drool come out of their mouth and also let an awful odor come out of their rectum. It smells horrible. The opossum is making itself undesirable as a meal. When the threat goes away, the opossum stands up and off it goes!
 
When the babies get old enough to walk around with mom, and mom decides to move on,  they hold on tight to the mom's back or some crawl back into the pouch. They have an extremely strong grasp with their hands. Even the little ones in rehab, if they get hold of your hair, they want to hold on for dear life! Sometimes, if you're not careful, they help pull out the feeding tube!
 
One more thing, opossum moms do not gather the babies when she decides to wander around finding food. It is 100% up to the baby to pay attention and keep close to the mother. She will do her own thing independent of the babies. It was fun watching Mum. She would wander around the yard and her 9 babies would do the same. When Mum walked to a new area, the babies would take off running on their little legs and hop on Mum. Some would work their way back into her pouch and some hung on wherever they could. I knew when to wean the babies only because they started to let Mum go and not try to catch up to her. So one by one, I'd pick up the "weaned" babies until after about a week, all nine had left Mum.
 
She became a foster mother to many single orphans. Mum was a special Opossum. She died one day and I still miss her. She was an old Opossum when she came into rehab and had an old eye injury that left her blind in that eye. I learned so much about Opossum's from Mum. By watching her, she taught me what to do to help her and her little ones until she could take back her job when she was well enough.
 



The baby in the pouch is holding a nipple in her mouth.


 


 



Notice the baby sleeping on his Mom's side near her left foot.
How cute!

 

Update on Mum: 
All nine babies grew up and were released!


 

 

Please, if you care to, donate what
you can to help the wild babies.




Forest Babies Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
A Florida Non-Profit  Corporation
St. Augustine, FL 32086

 

If you have found an injured or orphaned wild animal and you need help . . . please read this.
I
ENJOY your emails so please send me one! email

 


The Meaning of Rehabilitation...

To face yet another day just like the one before. We forgo sleep, time with family and friends, and any time at all for ourselves. And yet, when life is given back, a success is noted, a victory won, we are renewed to continue with this work. Those who are gifted with a great love for animals and nature and the ability to help save their lives have no choice but to do all that is humanly and humanely possible.



This website was created to help us appreciate the wild animals we make our home
with and to educate ourselves about their wonders.
 

 

If you see a picture you like and want a copy,  please let me know by email so it can be sent to you!

Thank you for visiting.

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Please remember, rehabbers are volunteers for their communities. They are not paid by anyone. Support your rehabber!