There are many misconceptions about animals that people still believe nowadays. Those labeled as wild ones are often considered terrifying and immensely aggressive. However, it’s important to remember that animals become hostile as a defense mechanism. For instance, opossums are usually deemed dangerous due to the hissing sounds it makes. Opossums only do that to portray themselves as violent creatures to scare away possible threats. Deep down, they are lovely animals with a soft side when taken care of. They love to be loved — the feisty rodent disappears when they start to trust you.
It’s not impossible to get to know an opossum, even when they are from the wild. A Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center volunteer in Michigan created a bond with a rescued opossum. Andrea became its human mother and named him Sylvester. When they found him, Sylvester was already blind, but he was doing a great job navigating his daily life. The rehabilitation aims to release the wild animals as soon as they could survive alone. However, some animals require constant care, like Sylvester, due to his blindness.
“All we know about him is that when he was probably three, four months old, someone found him. At that age, they most likely are still with their mom,” Andrea explained. “They contacted us to see if we would take him. So he’s been with us since late spring, early summer. He lives in luxury.” The opossum is so lucky to meet someone like Andrea, especially in his condition. His human mom is willing to provide him with the most comfortable life. Sylvester is the exact opposite of how people see opossums — he’s the sweetest and seems to be always wearing a smile on his face.
Andrea often takes him on walks, which serve as Sylvester’s exercise. She has to use a leash and a harness for extra safety. “He enjoys exploring. Very rarely have I seen him bump into anything. He has this sense. I don’t know if he gets close to something and he knows to turn – they have long whiskers, maybe his whiskers get to it first,” Andrea shared. Sylvester isn’t the only opossum in the center — he has his buddies around. Spending time with the rodents has changed Andrea’s image of them — now she isn’t scared of the hissing sounds. That’s why, aside from taking care of them, Andrea aims to educate others about the incredible personality of opossums.
“If you ever struggle with something, I want you to think of Sylvester and how brave Sylvester is,” she said. May the gentle creature inspire you to never let a health condition hinder you from living life. You’ll be alright if you trust yourself and have a support system like Andrea. Their relationship grew into more than just animal and caretaker – they became a family. Sylvester may never return to his natural habitat, but his days will surely be full of happiness in the rescue center. Check out his story in the video below. Visit Wildside Rehabilitation Center’s website to learn more.