SPCA opossum babies
Opossum babies rescued by the SPCA Monterey County. (Courtesy of SPCA)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Every spring, female opossums hold babies in their pouches growing strong and healthy. Sadly, some of these mother opossums are hit by cars as they forage for food, and their babies cannot survive without emergency rescue.

“On this first day of spring, we are already currently caring for nine rescued opossum babies after their mother succumbed to suspected rodenticide,” according to the SPCA Monterey County. “Tragically, many more slowly starve or freeze to death in their mother’s pouch after she was hit by a car.”

If someone hits an opossum with their car, or sees one lying on the side of the road, and if it is safe to stop, check on the opossum:

  • If the opossum is alive but injured, call SPCA at 831-264-5427 or visit spcamc.org/wildlife.
  • If the opossum is recently deceased, check to see if it is male or female. Their anatomy is easily apparent. If the opossum is female, use gloves and a towel, rag or washcloth to gently open the pouch and check for babies. They can be as small as honey bees, but they will be pink and squirming. If you find babies, call SPCA for help. Don’t attempt to remove the babies as their tiny mouths could be seriously injured. Be sure to always wash hands afterward.

“The SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center requests your assistance helping us save these tiny babies,” SPCA stated. “We know this is unpleasant to think about, but your help can save lives. Opossum babies can survive for several hours after their mother dies.”

Last year, the SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center cared for 96 opossum babies rescued after their mothers were hit by cars or caught by dogs or cats.

Opossums are North America’s only marsupial. They are beneficial to the local environment, as they eat pests like cockroaches, mice, rats, snails and slugs, and just one opossum can consume up to 5,000 ticks in a single season.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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