This little opossum has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles, causing hair loss. Many are familiar with the disorder in humans, however, many mammals — including cows, horses, dogs, cats, pigs, and rodents — can develop alopecia.
One of those mammals with alopecia is a three-month-old opossum from Texas. Gail Barnes, executive director for South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, discovered the opossum.
“I went out to the drop off and retrieved a box and assumed the paperwork was in the box,” Barnes told LADBible. “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.”
Because of her alopecia, the opossum was incredibly cold. The center’s workers put her in an incubator to get her body temperature back to normal. While the weather was mild that day, a cold front with ice and snow came in two days later.
“She would not have survived if this Good Samaritan had not brought her to the center,” Barnes said.
This is the first for us at the Wildlife Center. This 3-4 month old hairless opossum was found in SW Lubbock. She would...Posted by South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday, October 21, 2020
To help keep her warm, the center asked the public to help with a winter wardrobe. People stepped up from all over, with knitting enthusiasts creating custom-made outfits. YES. LITTLE OPOSUMM OUTFITS.
All dressed up for Halloween. She is still shy of people and traumatized from being separated or abandoned by her family. #alacepiaopossumPosted by South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Friday, October 30, 2020
The custom outfits are necessary to her survival, as her alopecia makes it so it is impossible for her to survive in the wild. Barnes said the center plans to add her to its permit when she turns six months. This means the center will be her forever home and she will get an official name.
When she was brought in, the opossum weighed 132 grams. In the few weeks she has been at the center, the opossum has gained a bit of weight and now weighs 583 grams. We can’t wait to see her continue to thrive.