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.