A Tribute to Delphine

This past week our beloved ambassador, Delphine, was humanely euthanized due to her declining health. Our Wildlife Medical Clinic community is deeply saddened with the loss and we appreciate all of the kind words and support during this difficult time. Delphine was beloved by her caretakers, volunteers, community members, and social media followers. Delphine lived a wonderful life at WMC, where she enjoyed delicious food, comfy beds, lots of interactive enrichment, and endless love and attention from her caretakers over her three and a half years with us. Although Delphine’s life has come to an end, her legacy and impact on wildlife education will carry on.

Del was brought into WMC in 2017 after being found orphaned and subsequently hand-reared by a well-meaning member of the public. Due to her habituation to humans, she was deemed non-releasable. Luckily, Delphine’s friendly demeanor made her a perfect candidate to join the ambassador animals at WMC, representing our only mammal in the collection during her tenure. The name Delphine was inspired after the scientific name for opossum, Didelphis virginiana. Delphine, or “Del” served as an ambassador for her species, the only native North American marsupial. Although well intentioned, Del was an example of why orphaned wildlife should only be cared for by licensed wildlife rehabilitators, where they have the best chance of being released back into the wild. Continue reading

Thankful this Thanksgiving

It can be easy to take our local wildlife for granted and have them blend into the scenery of our everyday lives. At the Wildlife Medical Clinic, we’re thankful we get to work with wildlife to treat their medical conditions and help relieve their pain. Here’s a list of 4 reasons we are thankful for our local wildlife, as some inspiration for what we do!

They’re masters at recycling

We appreciate how resourceful wild animals are! Birds and squirrels use twigs and fallen leaves to build their nests. Snakes take advantage of fallen logs and rocks to hide from predators. Opossums and raccoons are there to clean up fallen fruits. Carrion birds like turkey vultures and scavengers also play a role in keeping the environment clean, not letting anything go to waste. Continue reading

Why should I care about Virginia Opossums?

Virginia Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) often get a bad rap, but they can actually be helpful to us and our environment!

But wait, aren’t they dangerous wild animals that can infect me with diseases? Yes, they are wild and they can carry zoonotic diseases, so you should be cautious with them, just like any other wild species. However, opossums are general not aggressive and their prime defense is to “play dead” and avoid confrontation. Additionally, they rarely contract rabies (likely due to their low body temperature) so they are a low risk vector for that disease.

Okay so how can they help me? Opossums can actually help clean up pests in the environment because they are opportunistic scavengers that eat things like cockroaches, crickets, beetles, slugs, snails, snakes, and many others. One very important target for them is ticks, which are a significant vector for Lyme disease. Opossums are very good at finding and killing ticks, thus eliminating a substantial amount of them every season. This is not only helpful to prevent disease in us, but also beneficial for pets and wildlife that can contract Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. Continue reading