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By Meghan Overdeep
October 29, 2020
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Credit: South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

A unique baby opossum is in need of a wardrobe.

When the unusual animal was dropped off at South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (SPWRC) in Lubbock, Texas, last week, executive director Gail Barnes told Southern Living that she initially believed the opossum to be a hairless cat.

"This hairless arm comes out of the box and I thought, 'Oh my gosh, it’s a hairless kitten,'" Barnes said. "I opened it up, and it was a possum."

The tiny opossum is about four months old and only has fur on her head and feet. Likely abandoned by her mother, she was hypothermic, underweight, and in grave danger when she was handed over to SPWRC. Opossums are unable to regulate their body temperature without fur. If not for the man who found her and brought her to safety, Barnes said she would not have survived for much longer.

The yet-to-be-named opossum was put directly into an incubator. Veterinarians gave her a clean bill of health and diagnosed her with a hereditary autoimmune disease. The little creature would be furless for life.

Almost a week later, Barnes says she is doing much better and has nearly doubled in weight since her arrival. Her favorite foods are currently crickets and apple sauce.

But she can’t stay in an incubator forever. And, she can’t be released back into the wild either. The solution? Clothes!

“She is going to need a wardrobe year-round. Even in the summer because she would get a sunburn,” Barnes explained. “She’ll need something lightweight for the summer, and for the winter pouches and little sweaters made out of socks.”

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Barnes hopes that she’ll be able to add the naked opossum to the center's lineup of educational animals soon.

“She’ll have a good life and educate so many people about the benefits of opossums,” she said. “They’re very misunderstood.”

In the meantime, Barnes is hoping for help building her wardrobe. She’s currently about four-and-a-half inches from her neck to the base of her tail. For those interested in donating to the naked opossum's wardrobe, or in helping fund her care, visit SPWRC.org.

Good luck, little lady!