Stowaway opossum back home in Ontario after trip to Calgary

A stowaway opossum that survived the long journey from Brampton, Ont., to Calgary arrived home in Ontario on Friday afternoon.

Opossum was found 'miraculously' alive after Brampton-to-Calgary trip

This Virginia opossum is headed back to Ontario after surviving a trip from Brampton, Ont., to Calgary in the back of a truck. (Toronto Wildlife Centre)

A stowaway opossum that survived a long journey from Brampton, Ont., to Calgary arrived home in Ontario on Friday afternoon.

The Virginia opossum was found on a transport truck back on Sept. 19, "thin and dehydrated, but miraculously still alive," according to the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

The animal was admitted to the hospital at the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation in Calgary, where he was nursed back to health. It's not clear exactly how the opossum made it onto the truck in the first place.

In order to get him back to his natural habitat as soon as possible, arrangements were made to fly the opossum home. He arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Friday afternoon.

The animal will remain in the care of the Toronto Wildlife Centre until he makes a complete recovery. That could take a couple of days, a couple of weeks, or a couple of months, the centre's Julia Pietrus told CBC News.

"We'll give him a full assessment, check his body condition, check his hydration levels," Pietrus said.

He will then be released back into the wild.

"Besides the fact that Virginia opossums are not found in Calgary, wild animals should always be released back to their home territory as quickly as possible," the centre said in a statement.

"They may hold a territory in the area, and will also know the best spots to forage for food and places to shelter from weather or hide from predators."

Pietrus said the animal likely ended up climbing into the truck as he wandered around looking for food.

"He also may have been looking for somewhere to sleep," she said. "They are nocturnal, so they like to find a warm, sheltered spot to sleep during the day, and then the doors shut behind him."

The opossum isn't the first animal to have caught the travel bug that the centre has had to take in.

The centre has taken in a yellow rat snake from Florida, a scorpion from Costa Rica and a striped skunk from California.

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