by David King
One of my favorite features of living at the base of Mount Diablo is the daily viewing of its wildlife playing, foraging, strolling by behind my house. I feel really fortunate. Over the years, I have watched a parade of beautiful creatures walk past the house along Galindo Creek.
A few times we have witnessed an injured or abandoned animal and have relied on Lindsay Wildlife to be there to offer proper care to nurse it back to the wild if possible. Which brings me to this announcement that came across my desk.
Each year, the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital treats over 5,000 injured and orphaned animals. They are able to do this thanks to the generosity and selfless dedication of volunteers who care for these patients in their homes until they are ready to return to the wild.
Among the many sick, injured and orphaned animals that are brought to the hospital by caring rescuers, Lindsay receives more opossums than any other single species. As the hospital ends its busy season and looks toward the next season in just a few months, they are seeking adult volunteers to care for these beneficial marsupials.
It’s amazing to watch opossums grow from sleepy infants with giant ears to spunky “teenagers” displaying toothy “smiles.” Opossums spend an average of 7-14 days in each type of enclosure (tub, then indoor cage, then outdoor cage) before they’re ready to go back to the wild. These animals are safe, clean and caring for them at the cage (beginner) stages is easy – about 15 minutes a day.
Requirements for beginners include secluded space inside your house for a tabletop cage, or outside for a larger cage (usually on sawhorses).
You will clean the cage in the morning and feed the opossums at sundown. To keep them wild, they must have little exposure to humans and no exposure to pets or domestic animals. They sleep during the day, but if you stand in the shadows at night, you‘ll witness a fun show as they learn to forage for hidden food.
Volunteers are also needed to return the patients after they’ve mastered their wildlife skills.
In addition, Lindsay Wildlife has openings for volunteers to “opossum-sit” when regular caretakers are away for a day or two.
Interested? They will train you, provide all of the equipment and food you will need, and give prompt support. If you would like to learn more, contact them. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.