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Opossums All about Opossums.


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  #1  
Old 12-28-2009, 07:54 PM
ChibiHoshi ChibiHoshi is offline
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Question Brazilian Opossum

I'm in Alagoas Brazil and my dog killed a mother who had 5 pinkies in her pouch Christmas Day. There is no wildlife rehabilitation near by so I'm on my own.

The mother was dead less than ten minutes so I didn't have any dehydration problems. I started them immediately on Soy Diet (medical diet supplement for patients on feeding tubes and cancer patients to maintain weight); it was the only stuff I had in the house and I figured it was better than cows milk.

I at first started to feed via syringe every 2 hours though it was too big for them to get their mouth around but switched to q-tips they can "suck"/lick. (I am having trouble getting my hands on a catheter as I have no idea what they are called in Portuguese and I've never tube feed before so I'm reluctant to try) Three died within 48 hours and the forth died of bloating. I have one left. I could really use some tips on getting her to survive.

Any ideas on an incubator? She is currently living in my bra and my mother's. (I stay up all night and she takes day shift). How much should I be feeding her? Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

Cool, Brazillian Opossums, they are very different from our opossums if I am thinking of the right creature.

My first thoughts are that what you are feeding is one of the main issues. Opossums require specific diets and are very sensitive, they need everything dilluted and have special requirements.

My guess is that the best thing for them is going to be Esbilac puppy milk replacer. Can you get that? That is what we feed baby opossums here in the US as well as many other wild orphans.

Can you post a picture so we can get an idea of age and size? Are you able to weigh him in grams? Does the baby have any fur at all? If he is very tiny, his chances are slim to none in experienced hands, so try not to feel bad. I got these two tiny opossums in this year (I found them on their dead mom in the morning, probably hit sometime during the night and 3 babies were dead and the last two were icy cold. One lived 2 days the other 5. I still miss those two little guys, they are truly amazing animals):
http://www.petsandwildlifeforum.com/...ead.php?t=1188
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:12 AM
ChibiHoshi ChibiHoshi is offline
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Post Re: Brazilian Opossum

Mom looked like:
http://animalphotos.info/a/2008/01/0...llian-opossum/
Every time we see one in the rafters we call them "big ears".

The pinkie is just like the ones in your picture - maybe a little less shiny. I was able to bury the ones I lost in match boxes. I don't have an accurate scale but I'd say 10 grams. Her body length is 5 cm.

I keep her warm/company 24/7 she lives in our bras where she can hear our heartbeat and feel skin. My mom gave her the name Miracle so who knows. (The wacky part of this is; in my sleep deprived state I see out of the corner of my eye a black/white blur. I swear mom is following us)

I'll see what brand they have here; will any puppy milk replacer do? (To bad my bitch isn't in her bad mood - she has never mated yet she has false pregnancies and makes milk every cycle.)

Miracle eats without tubing. The first three that died didn't eat much at all and they stopped eliminating so I knew I would lose them. The 4th was a sort of surprise but the tummy was bloated so I think I over fed with the syringe. I've since graduated to q-tips and let her suck/lick as much as she wants.

Last edited by ChibiHoshi : 12-29-2009 at 03:33 AM. Reason: add link to picture
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

Welcome on board and thanks for taking care of the possies. They sure look different in Brazil!

I found that opossum babies do not suckle at all, they only lick. If you can't find any Esbilac over there, I would go for the next best puppy milk that is available. And as SRABT said, everything needs to be diluted at first.

Being this tiny, even us experienced rehabbers with all the right mixtures and incubators and everything often can't get them to survive, so please don't feel bad if Miracle does not make it. But don't lose faith either...a miracle is a miracle is a miracle .

You and your mom are certainly going way out of your way to help these little critters. Thank you so much for that!
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

As far as an incubator, you could try using a heating pad, but probably in your bra is going to be the closest you can get. I made a homemade incubator with two rubbermade containers and an aquarium heater set at 100 degrees. It worked well, but it is very hard to find a heater that will heat the water to 100, since fish don't need the water that warm. Another thought would be to put the heating pad under the container with the water and then put the dry container on top with the possie in it. Possie babies need it to be 92 degrees with high humidity.

If your guy is as tiny as my two were, they will not suck or even lick, the only way I know to keep them alive is to tube them and even then they only stand about a 20% chance of surviving. The problem with possums is that they are marsupials, so they are born long before any other mammal. If the opossum had been another mammal, the babies wouldn't have been born yet and there wouldn't have been anything you could do, you wouldn't have even known she was pregnant. So, do what you can and know you are doing your best. That's all you really can do.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

She means 100 degrees FAHRENHEIT that's 38 Celsius! Just thought I'd mention that..as far as I know the US is the only country that uses Fahrenheit. 100 Celsius is when the water starts to boil.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

Yes, what Miss. Doolittle said, sorry for any confusion. boiling water would be much too warm!
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:38 AM
ChibiHoshi ChibiHoshi is offline
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Wink Re: Brazilian Opossum

5 days and still alive.

She gave me a scare yesterday. She was turning gray and her skin was a bit loose and she had lost her appetite. I figure those were signs of dehydration. Since I don't have access to pedialyte and other medical hydrators are expensive I went with the local remedy that doctors prescribe here - Coconut Water. (Not coconut milk. It is high in electrolytes and very high in potassium - Is this a problem?)

Miracle pinked up within two hours. Now I mix the formula powder with it and she eats again.

Is there a chart with CC-Units of formuas to feed per gram of animal weight per feeding?
How about a development chart like the one listed on: http://www.rainbowwildlife.com/baby-squirrel.htm but for opossums? How does one tube feed? (I think I may have aspirated her a little and I'm a bit cared I'll do it again)

Last edited by ChibiHoshi : 12-31-2009 at 06:34 AM. Reason: Forgot to include my Questions
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

Instead of coconut water, try this:

1/2 liter of warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of sugar

Mix it well and it's nearly as good as Pedialyte.

Also, here is something like the chart you asked for:
http://www.opossumsocietyus.org/injured_opossum.html
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:24 AM
ChibiHoshi ChibiHoshi is offline
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Default Re: Brazilian Opossum

Thanks for the recipe. I'll try it next time she gets dehydrated.

I've found Pet Milk, the only substitute available in the nearby city.
Could someone see if it compares to Esbilac? Product info
http://www.vetnil.com.br/index.php?lng=en
Select products; Company Vetnil; Pet Milk
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