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Resilient Baby Possum Clings to Stuffed Kangaroo, Captures World’s Heart

posted: 10/08/15
by: Danny Clemens

The Internet is falling head over heels in love with Bettina, a baby brushtail possum with a fighting spirit.

Found disoriented and dehydrated, the orphaned four-month-old possum is being nursed back to health in Australia's Taronga Wildlife Hospital. In the absence of her mother, the possum has taken to a small stuffed kangaroo, and photos of the duo have quickly gone viral across social media:

Staff at Taronga Wildlife Hospital are providing round-the-clock care to this orphaned Brushtail Possum - with a little...

Posted by Taronga Zoo on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

 

"At this age she would naturally still be with her mother, so the soft toy gives her something to snuggle for comfort. It's not as fluffy and woolly as an adult brushtail possum, but she clings to it using her claws and teeth as she would do with mum in the wild," Felicity Evans, the possum's caretaker, explains in a news release.

Evans says that she carries Bettina around in a 'makeshift pouch' and bottle feeds the possum to mimic the missing maternal care.

Bettina and another female joey currently receiving medical treatment will eventually be released into the custody of a specialized professional, who will facilitate their re-release back into the wild.

Endemic to Australia, the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is one of the few marsupials that thrives in the island's urban centers. The nocturnal creatures are considered a pest by some, as they feed on vegetable gardens and forage in trashcans, but receive government protection throughout much of Australia.

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