(Warning: Disturbing images)
When an animal control officer in Riverside, California, responded to a call about an animal with two arrows sticking out of his body, this is what she found:
The officer was surprised to discover that the young opossum, whom rescuers later named Robin, was still alive, despite the two crossbow arrows that were sticking out of his body. One had gone through Robin’s face near his eye and through to the other side of his head. The second had gone through his right side and come out the other side of his body.
Sgt. Cynthia Lee of Riverside County Animal Services saw Robin when he arrived at the county’s clinic just before he was rushed into emergency surgery:
“The animal was very alert and you could tell [he] was trying to remove the arrow bolts [himself]. … The opossum was grabbing the arrow on [his] side. What a horrible thing to do to an animal.” — Sgt. Cynthia Lee
A veterinarian was able to remove both arrows, and miraculously, Robin survived! Unfortunately, his left eye had to be removed because of the damage caused by the arrow. Since his surgery, he has been transferred to Sunshine Haven Animal Rescue & Wildlife Rehabilitation, a wildlife sanctuary where he will be treated for at least six weeks and then possibly released back into his natural habitat.
Opossums are smart, clean, non-aggressive animals who prefer to avoid conflict. They pose little or no threat to companion animals like cats and dogs, and it’s virtually unheard of for opossums to carry rabies. In other words, opossums will not bother you if you don’t bother them! According to the Opossum Society of the United States, opossums benefit the area they live in because they eat all types of insects, keeping the bug population in check.
Most importantly, opossums, like all animals, never deserve to be treated cruelly.
What You Can Do
Robin was able to be saved because someone spotted him and quickly called the authorities. If you ever see anyone bullying an opossum or ANY animal, say something! If an animal is in danger, contact your local animal control agency or the police immediately, and if they’re unresponsive, then contact PETA. To help sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, check out our guide to handling an animal emergency, and to help wildlife every day, see our list of easy ways to help wildlife.