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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Orphaned possum treats kangaroo doll as surrogate mother

An Australian wildlife hospital said an orphaned brushtail possum is being hand-raised with the help of a stuffed kangaroo the baby animal treats as her mother.

The Taronga Wildlife Hospital, part of the Taronga Zoo, said the female joey, dubbed "Bettina" by carers, was found suffering from dehydration last month in Mosman and she is now recovering thanks to veterinarian nurse Felicity Evans and a stuffed kangaroo.

Evans said Bettina clings to the stuffed toy like a possum joey would her surrogate mother in the wild.

"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," Evans said.

The hospital shared video on YouTube of the possum cuddling with her replacement parent.

Evans said Bettina is feeding well and will eventually be released back into the wild.

"She's feeding really well and is quite a vocal little thing. She'll sit in the spare room next to me and call out when she's ready to feed," she said.


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