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

Violet was found in the fall of 2020 with injuries to her toes and tail and was taken to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator in southwest Virginia. The injuries were not life-threatening, though Violet was friendlier than expected for an opossum her age, raising some questions about what had happened prior to her rescue. While the young opossum's injuries healed, her missing digits and amputated tail would limit her climbing abilities. Center outreach staff began working with Violet in the fall of 2020, and she officially joined the outreach ambassador team in late December 2020. In January 2021, the staff held a naming poll, in which more than 900 people participated. Violet flowers are a beautiful deep purple, and this species of plant often inhabits many different habitats – from throughout the northern hemisphere to Hawaii to Australia.  Opossums are very versatile in their habitats as well, so this name pays homage to Violet's resilient species.


January 24, 2023

On January 20, Wildlife Center staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Violet the Virginia Opossum, due to the progression of her chronic kidney disease. Violet’s exact age is unknown, but staff estimate she was close to three years old.

Violet came to the Wildlife Center in October 2020 as a juvenile opossum. She was transferred to the Center from another rehabilitator after she was found in Virginia Beach with a partially amputated tail and two missing digits on her front right foot. Violet was also friendlier with people than an opossum her age should be. The cause of her injuries and behavior was never determined, but they left her unsuitable for release back into the wild.

During Violet’s time at the Center, she had a huge impact on the staff who worked with her and everyone who met her. Violet had a way of connecting with people. Through virtual programs, Violet was able to "meet" thousands of students around the country and inspire them during a time when many were still coping with the pandemic. Violet's first in-person program didn't occur until June 2022 at a campground near Shenandoah; after that, she traveled to more than 20 programs at classrooms, libraries, and events where she seemed to always captivate audiences with her calm and curious nature. 

At the time of her passing, Violet was a geriatric opossum. For the past month, the outreach staff have been keeping Violet inside the Center to manage the symptoms of kidney disease. Despite every possible treatment option, Violet’s health steadily declined and she started to lose weight as her appetite waned. The veterinary and outreach staff decided that the most humane decision was to euthanize Violet before her condition and quality of life worsened. She spent her last days snuggled in blankets surrounded by her human co-workers.

Goodbye, Violet, and rest in peace. Thank you for your years of carrying on the Wildlife Center’s mission. You will be greatly missed.

June 21, 2013

On June 11, the veterinary team found three yellow plaques in the mouth of Barn Owl #13-1344 – the smallest of the six young owls. The plaques were cultured and found to be Candida – a yeast infection. The owlet was started on a course of anti-fungal medication . On June 19, the rehabilitation staff moved the four older owlets to one of the Center’s B-pens. Barn Owl #13-1347 remained with #13-1344, to keep its sibling company while the young bird finished up treatment.

By June 21, the plaques in the mouth of owlet #13-1344 were resolving. If all is well throughout the weekend, the two young owlets will be moved in with their bigger siblings. All owlets are eating well and gaining weight.

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