When artist, writer, and wildlife rehabber Ally Burguieres aboriginal met an orphaned possum alleged Sesame, she was anon ardent with the tiny, “super cute” critter. Sesame eventually developed absolutely a following, which helped Burguieres allay so abounding misconceptions that possums are dirty, diseased, or aggressive.
Her accepted @itsmesesame Instagram annual works to actual those myths, as does her new book “Possums Are Not Cute! And Added Belief About Nature’s Most Misunderstood Critter” (Quirk Books).
Possum is a chatty appellation generally acclimated for the Virginia opossum that is built-in to North America.
Burguieres talked to Treehugger about her affection for possums, how bodies acknowledge aback they accommodated the animals, and why it’s absorbing to watch one eat a cupcake.
Treehugger: What was your aboriginal up-close appointment with a possum like (through a sliding door)?
Ally Burguieres: The aboriginal possum I met was a agrarian possum on the aback balustrade of my ancestors home in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. I’m not abiding anyone would alarm him “cute,” but there was article alluring about him—he was old, scraggly, and aloof attractive for a snack. Years later, aback I was alive in beastly accomplishment and a acquaintance contacted me about a babyish possum in need, I said “yes” not absolutely alive what to expect!
What was the acquaintance with Sesame like and how did his personality abruptness you?
Sesame was SUPER cute. I was abashed by how babyish babyish possums are—at about 3 months, they’re the admeasurement of a ample mouse—and how soft, too. I’ve aback abstruse that abounding babyish possums are agitable (with acceptable reason), but Sesame was never abashed of anything. He was decidedly adventuresome and brave, and he admired people.
Why were you clumsy to adjust him and absolution him aback into the wild? How did he become a possum agent instead?
Sesame’s addiction to bodies was one of the better affidavit he was accounted nonreleasable. Most possums are absolute and alive of humans. As beautiful as they are, the babies are about hard-wired to be jumpy—many accessible their mouths and benumb at the aboriginal assurance of a threat. This wariness is acceptable and agency they’ll be alive about abeyant predators in the wild. Sesame was missing that congenital fear, and by the time he accomplished me, he was so abased on bodies that absolution him would accept been wrong.
How did bodies acknowledge aback they met Sesame, either in being or through his accepted amusing media presence?
People accept cried aback affair Sesame! I absolutely understand, as I’m generally affected with affect aback it comes to Sesame as well. There’s article appropriate about accepting to accommodated and advise such a unique, appropriate animal. With his amusing media, bodies all over the apple befriended Sesame and his proteges. With nonreleasables like Emma and Freya (both nonreleasable due to blindness) now in the Sesame the Opossum family, the love, connection, and appropriate adventures with possums continue.
Which possum account do you accept are the better misconceptions?
Some bodies afield accept possums are dirty, diseased, and aggressive. In reality, possums adopt to accumulate apple-pie (they ablution themselves frequently, like cats) and their anatomy temperature is too low to finer backpack bacilli like rabies, parvo, and distemper. And while they may arise mean, their abrupt and teeth acknowledgment is artlessly a atrocious attack to arise alarming in hopes they’ll be larboard alone. Possums are the ultimate introverts!
What admonition do you accept for bodies who run beyond possums or appetite to advice with their rehab?
If you run beyond a possum who appears advantageous and alert, the best affair you can do is to accumulate your ambit and acquiesce them to abide with whatever they’re doing. Possums eat bags of insects and adulteration bulb matter, so accepting them in your backyard is a acceptable thing! If you appointment a possum who needs help, the best (and absolutely only) way to advice them is to acquaintance a rehabber abreast you. On our website, we accept a folio committed to advice and assets on award your bounded rehabbers, including a articulation to www.ahnow.org, a searchable database of registered wildlife rehabbers.
For those who appetite to get absolutely involved, I acclaim befriending your bounded rehabber or wildlife accomplishment center. Ask how you can get complex and possibly become a rehabber yourself!
What do you achievement bodies will booty abroad from your book?
I achievement “Possums Are Not Cute!” will accompany joy and beatitude and burn readers’ benevolence for possums. I anticipate it’s consistently fun to ascertain beatitude in abrupt places, and what could be added accidentally adorable than cool beautiful possums?
How continued did Sesame alive and what were some of the highlights of your time with him?
Sesame lived for about 2 1/2 years—way too short, but about boilerplate for a nonreleasable possum! One of my admired memories was demography Sesame to our bounded “dog” bakery. I best out several accolade and a cupcake and put them on the adverse to pay. By this time, Sesame was a large, 20-pound possum, and he was watching from a purse at my hip. As anon as I handed the shopkeeper banknote for the treats, Sesame affective the cupcake off the adverse and shoved it into his aperture with both hands. The shopkeeper and I were bedlam while Sesame approved to amount out why his cupcake had a cardboard lining (he bound ample out he alone capital the cupcake and alone the paper).
And do you apperception administration a little accomplishments about you—what you do aback you’re not talking possums?
I’ve consistently been an beastly lover, and aback I’m not rehabbing, photographing, or talking about possums, I’m usually cartoon or account about added animals. I assignment as an artisan and accept a single-artist arcade in the New Orleans French Quarter alleged Arcade Burguieres. I additionally accept a boutique alleged Cocoally that appearance my designs on a array of articles including pajamas, sweaters, ceramics, and more. Being an artisan and artefact artist is a big allotment of my possum advocacy—I get to dream up possum-themed designs and creations and accompany them to life!
The shops are all ancestors businesses, so I accept the amusement of alive and arena with my mom and sisters every day. My mom is abundantly accomplished at ethical business development, and my sisters are alive in beastly rescue: my sister Evie is on the lath of the Humane Society of Louisiana and my sister Juliette is a adherent dog rescuer. We’re all vegan and amorous about accepting a absolute appulse on animals and the planet.
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