SWVA Wildlife Center changes the perception of opossums

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) -An animal widely considered by the public as a nuisance, gets a second chance at making a better impression.

Meet Espresso the opossum.

For many, seeing pictures of her may be the first time seeing an opossum in the daylight and acting friendly.

Espresso was rescued last year by the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center.

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Espresso was unable to be rehabilitated so the center worked to become certified to use her as an education animal.

Gail Anderson, a volunteer there has worked tirelessly to gain certification for Espresso. She takes Espresso to nearby schools to educate children as well as the public about their usefulness to nature and the eco-system.

"First of all they are just natures little garbage disposals. They clean up a lot of garbage off of the earth. It's also found that they eat, one opossum in it's lifetime can eat five thousand ticks, which can help control tick borne diseases," Anderson said.

Espresso has her own special enclosure at the wildlife center and is very friendly towards people. Anderson and other volunteers are able to easily carry and handle her.  Anderson says it is important for the public to protect opossums. Often times she says many will purposely try to hurt the animal they see as a nusicience. On average the animal only lives about two years, but can live longer.

To donate to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center click here.

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