Knitters make tiny sweaters for hairless possum to save her from the cold

Possums aren’t usually anybody’s favorite animal—they’re seen more as pests than cute creatures. But possums deserve love and kindness as much as any other animal.

And after one poor possum was born a little different, some kindhearted rescuers helped her survive… with the power of knitting.

Last month, the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, in Texas, got quite the surprise when a man left an animal in their drop-off.

“As I was walking back to the main building a hairless arm pops out of the box,” executive director Gail Barnes recalled to LADbible.

“I immediately thought it was a hairless cat. Much to our surprise it was a hairless opossum.”

This is the first for us at the Wildlife Center. This 3-4 month old hairless opossum was found in SW Lubbock. She would…

Posted by South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The possum has the auto-immune disease alopecia, which causes hair loss. Without any fur, the possum would not have been able to surivive in the cold weather.

“She was hypothermic so we had to warm her up,” Gail told The Dodo. “We put her in the incubator and got socks, heated them up, and got her temperature back up to where it was supposed to be.”

Making things worse, the condition caused her mother to abandon her. Fending for herself, she was underweight after going without food.

“If the mother knows that something is wrong with the baby they’re going to drop them off or discard them,” Gail said. “So she probably was scared to death.”

With no fur of her own, this possum was in desperate need of a “winter wardrobe” to keep warm.

And amazingly, some kind, crafty people were happy to help.

The SPWRC put out a request for their friends and followers to knit tiny sweaters for the possum, and soon she had quite the wardrobe. 

“The public has knitted sweaters of all sizes to fit our new opossum,” Gail told LADbible.

Our hairless opossum will be quiet warm in her new sweater. She will need to grow a little bit. Today she weighed 400 grams. #alapeciaopossum

Posted by South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Sadly, due to her condition she’ll never be able to survive on her own in the wild. But now, she’s being well-taken care of, with plenty of handmade sweaters to keep her cozy.

And the rescue is making sure she is well-fed, gaining her weight back and getting used to her new surroundings.

“She now weighs 583 grams,” Gail said. “She eats a diet of crickets, meal worms, applesauce, yogurt and fruit and vegetables.”

“She is very shy around people and it will take time to gain our trust.”

It’s nice to see so many people go out of their way to help a possum. These creatures have an unfair reputation as pests, when really they do a lot of good for humans, like eating ticks to help prevent lyme disease.

“Possums are one of the most misunderstood animals,” Gail told The Dodo. “People trap them, they don’t want them in their yard, they think they look prehistoric because they have more teeth than any other mammal.”

“But they’re really very beneficial. They’re scavengers — they eat all your insects, your bugs and your snakes.”

Thank you to all the crafty people who donated their time to keep this possum safe — and fashionable! Share this heartwarming story!