arrived one dark and stormy night in April.
She came to us after we received a call from Wildlife Victoria
asking if we had room for another inmate, "itís a
back rider Brushtail Possum" was the description.
for those that don't know, back riders are juvenile possums
weighing anything from about 200 grams to about 500 grams
- big enough to ride on their mums back.
back rider arrived wrapped up in a towel and we waited for
the customary scream which usually accompanies the peeved
off occupant when unwrapped from their cosy abode.
scream was emitted and when we looked closer this back rider
was actually an adult female, so instead of waiting for a
scream we waited for the "Iím going to kill anyone
and everyone who goes near me".... still nothing.
rewrapped her up in a snug towel and carried her onto a heat
pad only to have a gorgeous little face poke out of the towels
and start to lick fingers. Hmmm this is either one very dazed
possum or something really isn't right!
four hours later "Puzzle's" true nature (and problems)
started to show.
adult female about 500 grams lighter than she should be, severe
urine scolding (and acidic smelling urine) around the backside
and a prolapse. Oh and she didn't know what foliage was and
really not too sure on fruit and her paws and claws didn't
look like they had ever been used to climb tree.
to her nature/body condition/eating habits we think she was
raised by a member of public (we hope and not a carer) and
then either dumped or escaped when she got too big.
many emails to a number of carers asking for advise on how
to get her to eat something which wasn't bread or biscuits
we came up with a nutrigel/honey paste which was spread over
a fruit mix.
weight continued to fluctuate so down to the vets we went
(for the second time), with the suggestion of adding critical
care to the diet. It was not a hit, she hated it so much that
choking seemed to be the best form of defence! We
decided to stick with the fruit mix.
played main rehabber of Puzzle and Puzzle just adored her!
She would come out for a snuggle and while she was so underweight
we decided to let Puzzle be babied and we would deal with
the wilding her up later.
taught her to climb and run and she would often be found proudly
sitting on top of her cage having just scaled a massive tree
limb mum had brought inside for her.
after a few days, she started to go downhill.
first it was a head tilt, then it was gagging on food, anything
from a gum leaf to a piece of apple. There was also mild loss
of co-ordination and finally the inability to work out how
to pick up the food and transfer it to her mouth.
was time to say good-bye.
had a good few weeks but unfortunately it just wasn't to be.
local vet thinks that maybe her kidneys or liver had been
compromised which can lead to neurological symptoms and then
finally complete body shut down.
If only they could talk, what a story she may have told, instead
she was our Puzzle which we couldnít solve.
in Peace, little girl.