Bullet Turns Opossum's Life Upside Down

A rescued opossum shot in the head is now in stable condition, said Brenda Varvarigos of Valley Wildlife Care on Wednesday.

"Three days ago, Animal Control brought us an opossum that had a bullet wound right through the top of his head," Varvarigos said. "The opossum had blood pouring from the top of his head and out of his nose."

She said the bullet went though the roof of his mouth and out the bottom of his jaw. Opossums' brains are located in the "very back of their heads," Varvarigos said.

"This bullet missed the little fellow's brain by an inch," she said, adding that the animal needed two surgeries.

"The opossum is in stable condition in one of our incubators, where he receives round-the-clock care, consisting of pain meds, antibiotics, feedings and fluids. He will need another surgery on his jaw in the next couple of weeks," Varvarigos said.

The opossum is North America's only marsupial, according to opossum.org. Although the animal may hiss or growl, "they are gentle and placid -- they prefer to avoid all confrontations and wish to be left alone," according to the site.

"Opossums are great animals to have around. They eat unwanted insects and garbage and provide a great benefit to this earth," Varvarigos said.


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Varvarigos said that shooting opossums is illegal.

If you find an injured or orphaned animal, contact Varvarigos at 818-346-8247 or via e-mail at valleywildlife@aim.com.

Valley Wildlife, a non-profit all-volunteer based organization that relies on donations in order to operate, made news last month for releasing Smoky the Owl, who was rescued after suffering burns in the Sayre Fire in Sylmar.

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