Zoo Atlanta’s other twins
I am sure by now everyone knows about the adorable giant panda twins that were born here at Zoo Atlanta last year, but did you know that there is another set of twins here at the Zoo?! You may not have seen or noticed them because they currently reside inside the Wieland Wildlife Home where the program animals live, but they are our Virginia opossum sisters! Our two ladies go by the wonderful names of Magnolia and Maple. Don’t worry, I didn’t misspell possum. A possum is actually a small mammal that is native to Australia. Opossum is the correct spelling and pronunciation for our native species. Just like the panda twins, Magnolia and Maple are only about a year old and have been cared for by us ever since they were just tiny opossums. The difference is these girls were not born at the Zoo. Unfortunately, they were abandoned in the wild when they were only a couple months old and only about the size of a Rice Krispie Treat. Luckily, the two of them were found and rescued and then given to us here at Zoo Atlanta.
Now, I have been talking about how Maple and Magnolia are twins, but this statement isn’t entirely true. Opossums are known to give birth to as many as 20 babies at one time, so these girls could possibly have up to 18 other brothers and sisters!
You might be thinking though that it is a tad odd for someone to rescue a wild opossum, which I completely understand. When thinking about an opossum, we tend to think of them as dirty pests that live around our homes, but they are quite the opposite. By constantly grooming themselves, opossums are always eating bugs and ticks off themselves. Because of this, a single opossum can end up eating around 5,000 ticks in a single season! Also, these guys naturally eat a lot of pests that live around our homes such a rats, mice and insects that may be infiltrating our gardens and houses. You could say that they are not so much of a pest, but more of a backyard warrior!
I hope you guys enjoyed reading all about our wonderful opossum girls! You might get to see one in an educational program during a field trip or outreach or during an Amy’s Tree live animal presentation!