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

Oliver was admitted to the Center as a patient in the Spring of 2022 after he was injured by a cat. The young opossum recovered from his injuries, but his right eye sustained considerable trauma and needed to be removed. With only one eye, Oliver would not have been able to survive in the wild and was deemed non-releasable, but was considered a possible candidate to join the Center's animal ambassador team. The outreach team started working with the opossum in May 2022. Initially wary, Oliver quickly adjusted to his new role and progressed in his training; by the end of July, the opossum was added to the Center's education permits and officially joined the ambassador team! Naming rights were auctioned at the Center's 2022 Annual Gala; the winning bidder chose Oliver because the name means "olive tree",  which has been said to symbolize peace. Since opossums are often misunderstood and are sometimes even feared,  the name Oliver honors the opossums' true peaceful natures, and their important role in the ecosystem. 

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