|Merry Christmas to Possums|
and Possum Lovers Everywhere
Hi there! My name is Theo Possum.
Get it? Theo Possum... The oPossum... the Opossum...
Oh well, never mind, it's a dumb name anyway. Stupid humans and their cute pet names...
Anyway, as far as I can tell, I am the only possum on earth with his own 'dot com'. But I'm not here to talk about the internet, I'm here to talk about me. And did I mention that my name is Theo Possum?
My story starts the night dear old Mom walked out in front of a pickup truck. Even though Mom was not looking very good and was feeling kind of run down (pun intended), my two sisters and three brothers and I were all safe and cozy in her pouch.
We were adopted by well meaning human types who wanted to save us from certain death. They gave us a nice cardboard pouch with soft fuzzy towels and a hot water bottle to keep us warm. Every three hours they would wake us up and feed us a warm formula of soy milk and 2% milk out of an eyedropper. Why soy milk and 2% milk, you ask? Who knows?
As we grew, our humans fed us all kinds of things that they thought possums liked to eat. We were given grapes, apples, earthworms, cicadas, balogna, baby food, cheese, hamburger, turkey, gravy and other things I still can't name. We were happy, hungry and growing. Our humans were very pleased at saving us from inevitable doom.
Even though we got to eat all kinds of yummy things, our diet was ALL wrong. If you know anything about possums, you probably know what came next just by looking at my posture in the photo.
And if you don't know anything about possums, well... our front feet aren't supposed to look like they are sticking out of our cheeks.
After about five weeks of this human inflicted menu of junk, we started to get sick. Ruby and I were the first ones to get it. My knuckles and wrists swelled and hurt so bad I had to walk on the sides of my hands. I limped and got bow legged and soon was walking on my wrists and elbows.
Ruby's back legs got so out of control that she could hardly get up at all. Lucy lost all her white guard hairs and turned almost totally black. Even Dozer, who was always racing around like a maniac, started to go limp. For some reason, Poor Stewart never showed any problems except for becoming the introvert 'touch me not' that we all grew to love.
Our humans were beside themselves with horror as one after another of us got sick. They thought it was a virus or rabies or a vitamin deficiency like rickets. They called the vet, the game warden, neighbors, even newsgroups on the internet. Finally, by chance, they ran into The National Opossum Society web site where they got a special diet to help us get better.
What we had turned out to be a thing called Nutritional Metabolic Bone Disease.
Now, that's a mouthful for a possum to say, so I'll just call it MBD. Actually 'MBD' is a mouthful for a possum to say, and that's why I hired a writer. But I digress...
MBD is caused by an imbalance of nutrients in our diet, particularly excess of protein and vitamins A and D along with too little or too much calcium absorption causing abnormal bone density, organ degeneration, imponderables like dermal septic necrosis and other scary internal maladies that I don't even want to think about.
To make a long possum tale short, we are all feeling much better now and have all been released back into the outdoors. We hope that other possums can benefit by our story.
|A word from Theo's writer:|
Hi there! My name is Max.
Get it? Max... mAx... maX...
Oh well, never mind, I'm just joshing ya...
My wife, Donna, and I live way down a back road out in the middle of West Virginia. Those guys in my lap are the "Gore Five", the most recent litter we saved, released just this spring.
There have been many possums come our way since Theo. Proper diet information has saved all of them and Theo, too.
I hope you'll take the time to read about our experiences dealing with these incredible creatures and learn a few things about their care. And don't be an ignorant doofus like I was.
The purpose of this web site is to get good "possum care" information into the hands of people who have found themselves caring for possums without the vaguest idea what to do.
In a nutshell, when our human tendency to want to save and nurture is combined with our general ignorance of wildlife in general (and possums in particular), there results a great deal of unnecessary suffering on the part of the very "wee ones" that we are trying to help.
The litter that Dozer and Theo Possum belonged to was our second litter. This page talks about what we learned from raising ten litters, as well as a few odd orphans we inherited that had not been cared for very well.
Radar, named for his big ears, was an 'only possum' that lived with us about a week. Sweet Rosey O'Grady was so far gone when we got her that she lived only a couple days.
There were also three nameless unfortunates we got from a family with lots of kids and no clue what to do with pouchlings except toss them cicadas and play with them like Hot Wheels. They all died a horrible, contorted death from inadequate diet and physical injury. (the possums, that is, not the kids)
All of these orphans could have been saved with the proper knowledge, approach and diet.
Please check out the rest of the website. "OUR POSSUMS" covers all 10 litters we have raised. "FINDING POSSUMS" covers what to do if you find a possum. "KEEPING POSSUMS" covers why we think you should get them well, then let them go. There are also sections with notes on legal considerations, ethics, links to the people who know possum health inside out plus a nice little picture gallery with over a hundred images.
Made in West Virginia, U.S.A.
All Rights Reserved - Copyrighted 2000-2007 by Max Summerville
No part of this website may be reproduced without written permission
NOTICE: There are no legitimate email addresses associated with theopossumpage.com.