Last year, I was on my way to work in Portsmouth, NH, driving down 95N, when I glanced over and saw an opossum sitting by the side of the road. Now it was 0800 and I know that opossums are nocturnal creatures; thank you Dave Taylor. So, as I drive by, I think to myself, what the hell is it doing just sitting by the side of a very busy highway? Well, you know I am going to stop to help this poor creature. Ok, the only way to get back to it is to go to the Portsmouth round about and head back south and then take an exit that you have to drive a bit to before you can actually turn around to get back on 95N. So, I finally make it back to the sad opossum (the trek took me 15 min) sitting awkwardly on the side of the road with its head down.
I get out of the car and try to convince it to get off the road by gentle prodding it with my foot. That does not work, so I pick it up… I know, I know rabies and all, I know!! I put him in the grocery compartment in the back of my little blue Vue, just right for groceries and injured wildlife! Now, what do I do with it? I call the Firefighter who happens to work down the road at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and he found the number to a vet, who in turn gets us the number to the York Center For Wildlife in Cape Neddick, ME (Portsmouth is on the border of Maine). They open at 0900 so the Fireman meets me and we head up to the Center. I call on the way and when we get there a woman comes out and picks up the opossum with heavy gloves on and takes it out back to the receiving area and places it in a cage. She is, of course, showing off with wearing the proper safety gear for handling injured opossums! When she comes back out I fill out an admission form and she then gives me a number that they assigned him (turns out he is a large male). Although it costs about $150 to save an injured animal they do not require you to pay to drop them off.
Wondering how a porpoise got into the mix? That evening I call my grandmother to tell her the story and she promptly gives me a check for $30 to donate to the center. A few days later, she is talking with my cousin Kevin and starts to tell him the story about me saving the opossum.
Gram: “Casey was driving to Portsmouth and she rescued a porpoise on the side of the road.”
Kevin: “Wait, what? She rescued a what?”
Gram: “She rescued a porpoise and brought it to the Wildlife Center in York.”
Kevin: “What the heck was a porpoise doing on the side of the road?”
Gram: “Porpoise, you know I meant opossum. Give me a break. I’m 83.”
Sadly the opossum did not make it. His head injuries were too much and he passed away. An opossum’s eyesight is not very good and most of their injuries are from getting hit in the head by a car. At the York Center for Wildlife, they are doing great work, saving and educating about wildlife, but they need help in doing do so. Check them out and think about sending them a donation.
- Suicidal Opossum (coastalplains.wordpress.com)