Hazel poppy o'possum
North American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Hazel came to the Museum in 2022 as part of a pilot program with the State of Vermont. She had been attacked by a dog that summer and suffered significant neurological and physical injuries. It was determined that even though she did not seem to be in any discomfort, she would be unable to survive in the wild.
Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America. They originated in South America but have been moving north since the last ice age. Today, opossums are found further north than they would normally be able to survive thanks to human structures and the plentiful food we unwittingly provide. Opossums eat just about anything, from insects and mice to pizza, catfood, vegetables and compost. Their delicate ears, bare toes, nose and prehensile tails are all very susceptible to frostbite and winter is their biggest killer in Vermont.