Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Can Opossums Swim?

Can Opossums Swim?

There is a question you probably never thought you would need to know the answer to in a big hurry, isn't it?  There was a time when Vinny and I needed to know the answer to that question VERY quickly.
It was the release of the first opossum that we’d ever rehabilitated completely by ourselves.  Prior to this one, when they got older we would pass them off to another rehabber to get prepared for release.  This was the first one that we’d decided we finally had enough experience on our own to go through all of the pre-release things and release her ourselves.  We were so excited to see her go free! 

We found THE perfect spot to release her.  Plenty of trees and a field, and even a nice little pond, we just knew she’d be very happy here!  And along came release day.  We drove her, in a crate, out to the perfect spot that we had chosen.  When we arrived, I gave her my usual, “ok, now from now on, stay away from humans” speech.  We placed her crate on the ground, midway between the trees and the pond, so she could decide which direction she’d go.  Then we opened the crate and watched her run away….

Right into the pond!  Our heads snapped around to look at each other in shock, as we both said, simultaneously, “can possums swim?”  Neither of us knew!  We’d never really thought to find out.  We knew that they were ok walking in water; they always did that, but actually swim?  We were unsure.

And now we were just sure we’d have to jump in and rescue our little charge!  We rushed to rip off our shoes so that we could  jump in and “save” her. The answer to our question came before we’d even finished getting our shoes off, to go in after her; she’s swam to the other side of the pond and was out and ambling into the woods, shaking the water from her fur and already starting to show signs of drying.

So, the answer to our previously unasked question, "Can opossums swim",  is YES, opossums can indeed swim, and quite well I might add!