Possums are not only welcome at Beth Button’s Boiling Springs home, they are loved, fed and given shelter.
Button, who works at USC Upstate, is among eight volunteers who have helped rescue and rehabilitate possums through The Opossum’s Pouch, a nonprofit formed in July. The Greenville-based organization has rescued more than 500 possums throughout the state.
Button has helped rescue and rehabilitate 15 possums since joining the organization. Her latest rescue is a 10-month-old possum named Kaolyn that likes to sleep on a heating pad formerly used by the family’s cat. Kaolyn usually wakes about 11 a.m. and falls asleep by 4 p.m. after giving herself a good grooming.
Her cats have mixed reactions to the houseguests. Button said one her cats doesn’t seem to mind the possums, while another fears them.
For Connie Reese of Greenville, rescuing possums is a passion. She’s rescued about 350 possums through the program. She currently has 47 possums in rehab at her home. At one point in 2016, she was caring for 126 possums at her home.
“When they come in battered, they appreciate what you do for them,” Reese said. “If you can give them a soft blanket and a bowl of food, they are good.”
One of Reese’s recent rescues is a possum named Davis. Davis was hit by a car and ended up blind with two broken front legs. Reese said Davis won’t be released back into the wild due to his injuries, but instead will be used for educational programs. Most of the rescued possums are released at a 300-acre site in northern Greenville County after they’ve been rehabilitated.