Nothing is Im-Possum-able for This Opossum

Kewpie, the opossum, might seem young at only a year and a half, but he’s already considered a senior! In his short life, Kewpie the opossum has been through a lot of trauma. In August 2020, he was rescued by the Wilderness Trail Wildlife Center in London, Kentucky, when he was only a baby. A cat had chased him up a tree after attacking him. The baby opossum had severe neck injuries and was highly anemic due to blood loss.

From Rescued Animal to Animal Ambassador

In addition to his many injuries, Kewpie was missing his right eye and was diagnosed with dwarfism. Due to his dwarfism, not only is Kewpie smaller than your average opossum, but he also has a snub nose and underbite that make eating difficult. Sanctuary founder Tonya Poindexter knew that Kewpie would never survive in the wild on his own and would become a full-time resident of the wildlife center.

Kewpie’s sweet and docile personality made him an excellent candidate to join Tonya during her educational classes. Tonya says, “People adore him. I made him my USDA ambassador for my educational presentations because he’s so loving.” As an ambassador, Kewpie helps teach adults and children the importance of the Virginia Opossum, the only native marsupial to North America.

Kewpie Experiences Sudden Mobility Loss

Four months ago, Kewpie began showing signs that he struggled with balance. He was diagnosed and treated for an ear infection. When his ear infection cleared, the opossum started to have difficulty walking. Kewpie would fall over, and he began to drag his back legs behind him. Tonya was heartbroken. The vet diagnosed the tiny opossum with osteoporosis in his leg and hip, along with mild scoliosis in his spine. She knew she had to help him; three years earlier, she had rehabbed a baby fawn named Clarice and used a Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair to help her walk. Tonya immediately reached out to Walkin’ Pets to help.

Kewpie Learns to Walk Again in New Opossum Wheelchair

The Walkin’ Pets team was excited to help Kewpie and Tonya. They built a tiny, custom wheelchair for Kewpie, the first-ever opossum wheelchair! Because Kewpie cannot support his weight or maintain his balance, he needed a full support wheelchair. Now, with his new opossum wheelchair, Kewpie can stand upright, relieve himself easily, and is working to rebuild his leg strength. Tonya says, ” Now with the wheels his got some dignity again. Thank you so much for that! He’s still learning how to use them, but I and he’s is so happy!”

Follow along on Kewpie’s recovery on the Wilderness Trail Wildlife Instagram page.

4 Comments

  1. I have a cat that has degenerative disc disease and has trouble walking he’s going to need four wheels how do I know that the measurement of the wheels And height is going to fit his body.

    • Hi Raena, along with your cat’s weight we will ask for two measurements: your cat’s rear leg height (measured while your cat is lying down, from the point where your cat’s leg meets the body and down to the paw) and your cat’s body length measurement (measured from the back of the front arm to the end of the rump). These measurements can be entered right into our SureFit Calculator to determine the perfect size Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair for your cat. Each order is reviewed by our wheelchair experts before they ship out, and we will make sure your cat gets the right size wheelchair. If you have questions please call us at 888-253-0777 and we would be happy to help!

  2. Hi! I adopted a baby possum after his mother was hit by a car in May. He was completely fine up until a couple weeks ago when he pulled two of his nails out. After he did that he stopped moving around and I started having to feed him by hand. Since it wasn’t a clean tear, I ended up taking him to a vet. I told her I was also concerned about his walking, and she examined him for that as well. Turns out there’s nothing wrong with his legs or him. I’ve been trying to look up ways to help him learn to move around again but there is not much about that online. I’ve been getting him out nightly to try to get him to move around but he usually just sits there or scoots backwards. His fingers are completely healed up now. He just won’t use his back legs. Any tips or advice on how to help him get to moving again would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Helen, It sounds like when his nails came out, his paw might be pretty sensitive and it might be uncomfortable for him to bear weight on his injured foot. Have you tried supporting him with a towel or scarf under his belly? It’s possible that by relieving some of the weight he’s placing on his foot, it may be easier for him to move. I would also reach out to wildlife rescues and sanctuaries in your area to see if they’ve had similar experiences with opossums in their care. I’ve found that wildlife rehabs are an amazing resource and love to support each other. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.