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Mother Opossum and Babies Rescued from Mail Truck Engine

A mother opossum and her babies were discovered sleeping in the engine of a mail truck at the Clearwater Post Office, and were rescued by Palm Harbor's Suncoast Animal League recently.

An injured mother opossum and her babies found in a Clearwater mail truck are going to be OK, thanks to the efforts of Rick Chaboudy and his staff at the Suncoast Animal League.

Chaboudy rescued the family from the engine of a mail truck at Clearwater's main U.S. Post Office on Sept. 19.

He chronicled the opossum family's rescue and recovery on the Suncoast Animal League's Facebook Page and included photos. 

Here is the story of the opossum family's rescue and recovery as written by Rick Chaboudy, Executive Director of the Suncoast Animal League:

Facebook, Thursday, Sept. 20

The "Mailman's creed," that "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their rounds," still rings true. But, on Wednesday, September 19th, a mother opossum put a halt to mail delivery for at least one Post Office truck.

The call came in from a mailman that his mail truck had broken down. The truck was towed to the maintenance garage at the Main Post Office in Clearwater. The problem wasn't mechanical but ..... animal. A mama opossum and her seven babies had thrown a "wrench" into the truck's delivery schedule by taking up refuge in the truck's engine. When the truck was started, the septuplet's mom got caught in the fan belt.

Although mom sustained a large wound on her left side, she somehow managed to keep her family intact throughout the procedure, including the towing. Her seven "clingon's" were unscathed.

When the hood was opened, I noticed mom had squeezed herself in the corner of the truck and had lodged herself in a position that made removal difficult and dangerous... especially, for me. The babies were too big for all to fit in the pouch so I grabbed the four of the stragglers who were on the outside of the pouch struggling to enter the inter sanctum of mom. As I safely deposited them into a carrier, I could see three more tails sticking out of the pouch. Securely attached to her nipples, I was unable to "de-nipple" them or, in layman's terms, dislodge them. All the while, mom displayed a low growl and a very impressive display of her pearly whites.

My conversation concerning "how this would hurt me more than it would hurt you," " I'm doing this for your own good," or even, "I'm only thinking of the kids" was to no avail. She continued to "grin" and growl. My bite gloves were to bulky to be of any help so I was forced to "go in" bare handed. I pulled on her tail and she budged a bit. Just when I felt that I was reeling her in, she decided to "get a grip" of part of the engine with her front paws and held on for what she considered "dear life." We played tug of war for a few minutes, I tugged and she declared war. 

With my right hand full of tail, I used my left hand to drop a towel over her face. Then, I used my left hand to loosen her grip as I did my best to stay out of the danger zone. With my next tug, I pulled her closer and that it when I could see her large wound. Now, I had to pull her the rest of the way out without further damage to her side and without the "spillage" of her remaining "pouch potatoes."

Finally, she was free and clear of the engine and I placed her into the carrier with her babies. No introduction was necessary!

With her open sore, I would not be able to release her right away. Her wound was cleaned and a topical antibiotic was administered. She was also given an antibiotic shot and set up for future care, along with her September seven. She found the make shift bed comfortable and to her liking. Later on that night, she downed two cans of cat food and some fruit.

Today, she seems to be resting comfortably and is not having as much stress. Her babies are all snuggly with her and seem to be without a care in the world. She let me administer the topical without me removing her from the cage or without her removing a finger from my hand. All the while, the septuplets slept. 

Facebook, Tuesday, Sept. 25

Septuplet Mom Reality Show?

I feel like I'm writing for one of the Tabloids with headlines such as, " Septuplet Mom Exposes All" or stay tune for "Inside Addition".

As Opossum mom's wound continues to heal, she is often more relaxed. Her babies are also growing and no longer are a "good fit" for her pouch. Eating quite well, with a full belly and plenty of milk, Mom often rolls over on her back to give "the kids" a smorgasbord while she naps.

I have captured this on film and, as we often try to educate, I thought it would be interesting for those of you who have never seen the inside of a marsupial's pouch, to see the inside of a marsupial's pouch. 

Remember, you saw it here first.

Facebook, Wednesday, Oct. 3

Momma opossum and babies are doing really well. Mom's wound from the injury she sustained during her encounter with an engine belt in the post office delivery vehicle is healing quite nicely. 

Babies are well-fed by mom and are starting to take on mom's guarded behavior. As tiny as they are they hiss and snarl. If it weren't so darn adorable it would be scary.

The little family will be released once we know mom's wound is healed sufficiently. We don't handle any of them so they don't become used to humans. When they are fed, they all hiss so mom is doing a great job teaching them to be wary of humans. They're really fascinating little creatures.

Other Stories You Might Like-

  • Three Week-Old Deer Cares for Newborn Fawn
  • Baby Deer Makes Friends With Squirrel 

The Suncoast Animal League is located at 1030 Pennsylvania Ave. (727) 786-1330

Grace October 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Thank you and God bless the Suncoast Animal League.

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