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Featured Image Credit: South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
An opossum with alopecia that was just days from death has received life-saving clothing from kind-hearted knitters. You can see the little scamp in her new clobber here:
The hairless marsupial was just a few months old when she was discovered on her lonesome in a car park in Texas, USA, and dropped off outside South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
The center's executive director, Gail Barnes, told LADbible: "I went out to the drop off and retrieved a box and assumed the paperwork was in the box.
"As I was walking back to the main building a hairless arm pops out of the box.
"I immediately thought it was a hairless cat. Much to our surprise it was a hairless opossum."
The Virginia opossum (the only marsupial found north of Mexico, not to be mistaken with possums, which most abundant in Australia) was in a bad way, and would have had no chance of surviving in the wild.
Gail said: "She was very cold and we immediately placed her in an incubator to regulate her body temperature. She weighed 132 grams.
"Fortunately we had not had any cold weather. Two days later, we had ice and snow. She would not have survived if this Good Samaritan had not brought her to the center."
The team subsequently shared an appeal for a 'winter wardrobe' for the cold creature, and the public duly obliged.
People from all over have been knitting custom-made outfits for the opossum, as well as donating hairless cat clothing for when she is a little bigger - and she's already bulked up loads since she was taken in towards the end of October.
Gail said: "The public has knitted sweaters of all sizes to fit our new opossum.
"She now weighs 583 grams. She eats a diet of crickets, meal worms, apple sauce, yogurt and fruit and vegetables."
Unfortunately, due to her alopecia - an autoimmune disease which causes hair loss - she will never be able to survive in the wild.
However, the center intends to keep her in its care. Once a permit is secured, the bald opossum will at last get a name.
Gail said: "She will never be able to be released and we plan to add her to our permit when she turns about six months. We want to make sure she is healthy.
"She is very shy around people and it will take time to gain our trust."
Well, a person saved your life, people have made you loads of clothes, and people will be looking after you for the rest of your life - so it's probably about time you started being a little more trusting, Susan.*
*I think they should call her Susan.