2017 Year in Review: Shannon Mazurowski, Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern

It’s time to look back on 2017! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2017 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

2017 has definitely been a year of firsts for me. When I heard I was accepted to an externship with the Wildlife Center of Virginia, I was beyond excited. There were so many animals I was excited to start working with, and the chance to get to hold a Bald Eagle?! I couldn’t wait to get started. Yet, out of all of the animals I knew I would love, one caught me by surprise: the Virginia Opossum.

Before working at the Center, I had honestly never given much thought to opossums. They were just a common backyard animal, maybe a little scary, and definitely not cute. So as spring rolled around and baby season got underway, all of a sudden there were litters of opossums to take care of. In no time at all, I fell in love with these little critters. Their adorable faces combined with their spirited nature quickly made them my favorite part about working in ICU.  My favorite thing about them is watching them sniff and explore their enclosure, usually in search of something tasty.

One particular memory I have is enriching a baby opossum that had a cage all to himself. We have a tiny ladder in ICU and one of the externs sprayed it with watermelon scent and put it in with the baby opossum. We then got to watch for an hour as the little opossum scurried all over the ladder frantically licking and sniffing every inch of it. It was satisfying to see firsthand how important enrichment is for the animals in our care.

This past year has definitely been one that I will never forget. I am very grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend here at the Wildlife Center and am thankful for everyone that has taken the time to impart their wisdom to me.