Lewis

Species Name (EN): 
Virginia Opossum
Species Name (LA): 
Didelphis virginiana
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

Lewis was rescued with his brother Clark in April 2019 after their mother was hit and killed by a car. Despite spending his first two months at the Wildlife Center as a patient in very limited contact with humans, it became clear that both Lewis and Clark remained far too friendly to be released. In July 2019, the decision was made to include both opossums in the Center’s team of outreach ambassadors. Now, Lewis can be found living in an outdoor enclosure with Clark near the Center’s other education opossums; Lewis is nearly identical to Clark, except that Lewis has a small pattern of black markings near the base of his tail.

Lewis is named after Meriwether Lewis – an Albemarle County, VA native and well-known member of the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. Like those early explorers, opossums are nomadic and rarely stay in one den or nesting site for long.

Updates

June 1, 2020

The Wildlife Center is sad to announce the death of Lewis the Virginia Opossum on May 30, 2020. Lewis died at one year of age, after a sudden and unexpected illness. 

Lewis was rescued with his brother Clark in April 2019 after their mother was hit and killed by a car. Despite spending his first two months at the Wildlife Center as a patient in very limited contact with humans, it became clear that both Lewis and Clark remained far too friendly to be released. In July 2019, the decision was made to include both opossums in the Center’s team of outreach ambassadors. Lewis and Clark both began training to be good ambassadors for their species, and Lewis appeared in several programs throughout the fall of 2019. 

On May 27, the wildlife rehabilitation staff noted that Lewis had skipped a meal (a very unusual occurrence for him) and was extremely lethargic; in the two days following, Drs. Karra and Ernesto made an all-out effort to diagnose and treat Lewis. An emergency exploratory surgery revealed that Lewis had severe pancreatitis and a duodenal ulcer. Despite treatments and supportive care, Lewis passed away on May 30, 2020. 

Though only with the Wildlife Center staff for a relatively short period of time, Lewis helped teach people -- both in-person and online -- about his amazing species. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person programs have been suspended since mid-March, though Lewis was able to reach even more people through online programs, and enjoyed several interactive online programs with Alex, the Center's outreach coordinator. Lewis's final appearance was a fun-filled enrichment session, where he got to enjoy some snacks and various treats while reaching thousands of people at the same time. 

Just a few days later, we hosted an online National Drawing Day session -- and Alex was able to chat about his two opossum buddies while office administrator Kayla sketched the two opossums. 

We are saddened by his loss but thankful for the time we had with Lewis. 

Share This Page