A nonchalant North Carolinian who brought his pet possum to Walmart found a new way to put some “ouch” in your pouch.
As the pandemic recedes and stores like Walmart welcome shoppers back from online ordering exile, we're reminded of all the things we missed, like bizarre pet owners. Hmm, should that be “owners of bizarre pets”? Well, why not both! Take this camo-clad North Carolinian who insisted upon showing off their exotic beastie bestie as they browsed the aisles for daily essentials like er, Purina Possum Chow and books like “Managing Your Mangy Marsupial”.
Yeah, you don't really want to be behind this dude in the check-out line, social distancing or not. Haven't we all heard about zoonotic viral transmission between wild animals and humans? Have we learned nothing over the past year and a half? COVID-19 aside, opossums can carry and transmit other unpleasant diseases including leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease. They can also suffer infestations of fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Just the thing you want draped over your shoulder while strolling amongst families, kids and vulnerable seniors at Wallymartworld.
The good news is that possums (the Virginia Opossum or Didelphis virginiana, to be exact) aren't likely to get rabies because their low body temperature is not amenable to the rabies virus. That's good! On the other hand, rabid possums ARE an occasional occurrence, likely becoming ill after scavenging dead rabies-infected bats. Bats, people!
We should also mention that although the Virginia Opossum is North Carolina's “Official Marsupial” (awkward as that may sound), they're considered to be wildlife and as such, cannot legally be kept as pets. Presumably the critter is either a Found “Cat” or an Emotional Support Animal and not really a pet at all – tell it to the judge, Bubba. (via People of Walmart, Lost Cat poster image via Deb)