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Help save orphaned Monterey opossums, urges SPCA

SPCA Monterey County Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center officials are asking for help from the public saving the lives of opossums, North America’s only marsupial.

Wildlife officials said opossums are beneficial to our local environment, as they eat pests like cockroaches, mice, rats, snails and slugs, and just one opossum can consume up to 5,000 ticks in a single season.

They said spring is the season for baby opossums and for female opossums to be carrying babies in their pouches, while foraging for food. Many wind up being hit in roadways by vehicles.

Officials ask people whose vehicles hit opossums to please save the lives of any surviving babies by following these directions:

  • If the opossum is alive but injured, please call 831-264-5427 or visit spcamc.org/wildlife.
  • If the opossum is recently deceased, and if you are in a location where you are safe from other vehicles, please check to see if the opossum is male or female. Their anatomy is easily apparent. If the opossum is female, use gloves and a towel, rag, or washcloth to gently open the pouch and check for babies. They can be as small as honey bees, but they will be pink and squirming. If you find babies, please call for help. Please don’t attempt to remove the babies yourself as you could seriously injure their tiny mouths. Be sure to always wash your hands afterwards.

Wildlife center officials said they cared for 79 opossum babies rescued after their mothers were hit by cars in 2021. They rescue more than 2,500 injured or orphaned wild animals each year.

To donate to help, please visit www.SPCAmc.org/donate. To report injured, sick or orphaned wildlife in Monterey County, please call (831) 264-5427.

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