Peach arrived at the Wildlife Center on October 21, 2020; C-O-M-P-L-E-T-E-L-Y hairless. She was hungry, appearing to be 3 to 4 months old and was found all alone by a Good Samaritan who brought her to us. No one at SPWRC had ever seen or heard of this anomaly in all the years of treating wildlife.
Upon conducting research, it was determined Peach suffered from alopecia, an autoimmune disease, which means a sudden loss of hair. After further investigation it was determined her problem was caused by an insufficient diet. Correcting her diet was no problem, however, she faced a real problem of staying warm until she could grow a new coat.
Pictures of Peach were posted on our Facebook page and soon we began receiving all kinds of knitted sweaters to help her through the Winter in style. Peach was named by Jason Marshall, an intern from previous years who, with his brother, were referred to as "The Possum Brothers", for their love of working with this misunderstood species.
Virginia Opossums are considered garbage disposals of the animal world. They eat all the things we want to get rid of such as mice, bugs, ticks, and fleas. They are not considered to be a rabies vector. At least this possum received the much-deserved attention. The story of Peach reached far and wide with calls being received as far away as across-the-pond (the UK). She was featured in "Fort Worth Star Telegram", "Texas Monthly", "People" magazine, the "Today" show, the online magazine "The Dodo", and many other media outlets.
Peach could not be released back to her native habitat because if her diet became insufficient, she would lose her hair and would die due to exposure. A special request was made to the licensing agencies to keep her as an Educational Ambassador. Peach is now a healthy adult and is included in over 100 programs each year for schools, Scout troops, and civic organizations. She spreads awareness of a seldom-seen, nocturnal mammal to the people of the Panhandle/South Plains of Texas and beyond.