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Winter in Wisconsin can be harsh.

Even wildlife can have a hard time when we have prolonged cold and deep snow. Opossums, with their bare paws, tails and ears, are particularly vulnerable. Ethel the opossum was brought into the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center after a caring soul found her lying in the snow, badly frostbitten. She was also severely dehydrated and emaciated. Ethel was immediately placed in an incubator and slowly warmed-up to normal body temperature. She was then given a course of a special mix of dextrose, electrolytes and fluids to rehydrate her. She was so weak and dehydrated that she could not be fed solid foods right away and instead had to be given fluids through a tube. Some of Ethel’s frostbite wounds were infected and required antibiotic treatment and repeated bandaging.

Rehabilitating Ethel

Once she was fully hydrated, we began giving Ethel an easily digestible liquid diet through her stomach tube.

This continued for several days, until she was able to begin eating on her own. Shortly after that, beautiful new skin began growing in over the scabbed, frostbitten areas. Gradually, her fur grew in thick and fluffy: she turned into a gorgeous opossum. Ethel was doing great! She was released in mild weather in late spring, a healthy and happy opossum.

Sponsor Ethel!

You can celebrate Ethel’s recovery and release by sponsoring her, perhaps in honor of someone, human or animal, that has survived or succeeded despite overwhelming odds.