BTN Receives Possible “Dwarf” Opossum

Meet Nicky, an infant opossum who was recently brought to Back to Nature by Nicole McKenzie, Senior Animal Control Officer at Orange County Animal Services. Upon inspection, he was found to have a severe ear infection and several unique characteristics. Nicky was unusually small, had little to no fur, and an older appearance – and this caught the attention of BTN staff.

BTN has seen a few of these cases throughout the years and in their experience, they remain small, or “dwarf” size. This condition typically results in shorter lifespans and creates health issues that make them statistically less likely to be successfully released. Under normal circumstances, an opossum’s lifespan is approximately 1.5 years in the wild and 2 to 4 in captivity. For the next few months, Nicky will be closely monitored to determine if he can be released back into the wild. He will be under the direct care of BTN staff and a veterinary (as needed).

“We hope he is able to thrive and grow to be a normal size opossum to then be released in the wild. If that doesn’t happen, he may likely become one of our next educational ambassadors, in which case you will be seeing much more of Nicky in the future!”

– Debbie Helsel, Executive Director, Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge

Nicky is still considered to be in rehabilitation and will not be on public display unless he meets the criteria, is considered a good fit, and approved as non-releasable by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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