Nicknamed “Bettina”, the four-month-old joey was brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital last month after being found in the streets of Mosman, dehydrated and alone.
Taronga are doing good work nursing Bettina back to full health [*ding, ding, ding-do-DING*], but as baby possums usually have a mother to cling to while they feed and eat, and she does not, she’s hijacked a soft toy kangaroo as a replacement.
“At this age she would naturally still be with her mother, so the soft toy gives her something to snuggle for comfort,” says vet nurse Felicity Evans, who’s slotted into the role of Bettina’s surrogate. “It’s not as fluffy and woolly as an adult brushtail possum, but she still clings to it using her claws and teeth as she would do with her mum in the wild.”
“She’s feeing 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,” says Evans.
“She was only 77 grams when she first arrived and she’s now 180 grams. We’re starting to introduce her to solid foods like carrot and sweet potato, as well as natural browse and native flowers. She particularly loves bottlebrush and the soft tips of eucalyptus.”
Levels of Australian wildlife being this cute have not been seen since the photos of an orphaned wallaby hugging a toy bear went viral and we leaked collective tears that day.
Bettina will eventually be released into
the wild Mosman to visit every available mango trea and ravage it, but until that day, Bettina, you just keep doing *you*.