Beach woman caring for orphaned opossums

Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-25 07:18:33-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) – A wildlife rehabilitator in Virginia Beach is caring for 7 orphaned baby opossums after their mother was stabbed with a pitchfork.

Evelyn Flengas, President of Evelyn’s Wildlife Refuge, says the mother opossum died but 7 of the 9 babies she was carrying survived.

“He told the officer that he thought his dog was in danger of the opossum and that’s what he did,” Flengas explained.

“I understand that it was his pet and he’s worried, and if you don’t know the animal, you are going to get a little bit worried,” she continued, but insisted “They do not attack. They play defensive, they’ll show you their teeth, and they’ll play dead.”

Caring for the orphaned babies requires Flengas to feed them every three hours.

“See they can’t suck. So I’m doing what the mother would do and that’s dropping it into their tummy,” Flengas showed NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.

While she’s caring for the orphaned babies, Flengas is also hoping to educate folks about opossums, which she says are misunderstood.

Flengas says many people think the creatures are giant rodents, but truly they are marsupials, the only native marsupials in the United States.

“They are very actually quite gentle even though they don’t look it,” Flengas explained. “They are very good at keeping your snakes and rats and mice away – so why not save them?”

The orphaned opossums will stay in Flengas’ care until they are old enough to be released into the wild.

You can learn more about Evelyn’s Wildlife Refuge by clicking here.